An Introvert's Guide to Terrifying Social Situations: Part Two

Image Source

How to Rock Difficult Phone Calls

By Kathryn Schuyler

In her book, The Introverted Leader , Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler introduces us introverts to the 4 P’s: Prepare, Presence, Push and Practice. While she explains how to apply these principles to professional leadership, introverts can tap into Dr. Kahnweiler’s wisdom for social situations as well.

In Part One, I showed how we can use the 4 P’s to get through an uncomfortable party. Now, let’s take a look at another situation that makes me want to hide under the covers:

Difficult phone calls.

I don’t know why it is, but somehow talking to someone over the phone makes them ten times more intimidating than they are in person. (Probably because you can’t see them when they’re making faces about you to their cohorts on the other side of the line.) It only makes things worse when the conversation topic is difficult. For example, in high school I had to make calls to local businesses asking them to sponsor an event my youth group was putting on. Not only was I talking to intimidating professionals, I was asking them for money over the phone. This is the stuff of nightmares.

  • Prepare: If you’re calling them (which is usually where the nerves come from), write a script. When I made those sponsorship calls, I wrote down an exact script of what I would say to them, including the part where I say my own name.
  • Presence: Listen carefully. It’s really easy to get someone wrong over the phone-their tone is hard to distinguish and sometimes the call cuts out. You’re not going to be able to catch everything in some cases, but do your best. Take notes on what they say just in case nerves wipe your memory slate.
  • Push: Don’t procrastinate on these, or call when you know you’re going to get their voicemail. Remember that it’s just people on the other side of the line, so you might as well say what you need to say.
  • Practice: When I was making those ƒ ¼ber difficult phone calls, I would run through my lines aloud before I actually spoke to them, but the only thing that really made it easier was getting through several calls. You have to adjust yourself to the possibility of rejection: know that there will be awkward moments and move on. Phone calls are a necessary part of modern life, which is one of the many reasons why life would be better if we were characters in a Victorian novel, but that’s a blog post for a different time.

Whew! Survived another phone call with minimal brain damage.

Be sure to read Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler’s The Introverted Leader for an in-depth study on the 4 P’s and how to put them into practice in your workplace.

Check out Part Three of this post on how to rock discussion groups!

What social situations have you waking up in a cold sweat? Comment below!