The beginning of my Co-op work term forced me to step outside of my comfort zone in a lot of ways. One of the first roles that I was expected to perform independently was the one that I struggled with the most to gain confidence. Most people lack confidence when it comes to the dreaded phone. I have never had issues with talking on the phone before, and I even had prior experience with using the phone from previous jobs, but speaking on the phone in an environment where everyone could listen to my conversations felt like public speaking all day long.
I am going to share with you some tips that helped me gain my confidence with speaking on the phone in hopes that you can implement them as well to better your phone skills during the first days of your position.
It is important to prepare for any questions that you may be asked. Read the Frequently Asked Questions page on your placement’s website. Do some research on the material you have to speak about. Ask your coworkers about strange questions that they’ve been asked or situations that they’ve encountered on the phone. Knowing what you want to say and having confidence in the information that you’re giving is the fastest way to lose the insecurity that comes with others listening in on your conversations.
The tricks that I found the most helpful in regards to my own speaking over the phone took practice to implement consistently. These tricks rely on breathing and slowing down. Initially, learning how to process a question and how to properly form an answer is vital to end stuttering over the phone. Once you have learned how to stay calm and collected, you will find that those who you’re speaking with will have confidence in your knowledge and authority as well. If you seem relaxed, this tone and atmosphere will transfer to both those you are speaking to over the phone and to your workspace environment.
Keep Things Simple.
You should focus instead on communicating the key idea first rather than trying to complicate what you want to say at the risk of leaving something out or losing your train of thought. It is better to keep answers short and simple to avoid confusing those who you are speaking to. Once you can convey basic ideas flawlessly, it is then safe to start adding more to answers and putting your own personality into the responses.
Once you are able to get out of your own head about the fact that others can listen to you speak, you will then be able to focus on the skills that you need to improve personally to make your phone communication adept. Confidence comes from learning from your mistakes and growing, so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to try new things and figure out what works best for you; regardless of what those around you think.
Beyond the Blog
- To learn more about Co-op opportunities, visit the Co-op homepage.