What is this phobia ?
This is an offshoot of a social anxiety disorder and it afflicts many people across countries, communities and generations.
Typically, what are people with this disorder like ?
- They could be comfortable talking to a roomful of strangers
- They might even send scores of text messages a day
- But they get anxious when there is a need to talk on the phone
Is it easy to spot ?
Technologies that allow communication without directly talking to someone makes it easier to mask the problem. So, these cases are now harder to spot, and hard data on its prevalence is rare.
Does it typically happen to smartphone users ?
- Cases have been reported before smartphones came into use, but they were not identified as a phobia
- In 1929, British poet and writer Robert Graves wrote of developing a deep fear of using the telephone after he was wounded in World War I.
Why does this fear strike ?
- It is not about the phone, but it is something about the interaction.
- Many are scared they might end up saying the wrong things on the phone
- One 27 year old sales professional was worried over stumbling over her words or taking too long to respond, making her look foolish in front of colleagues.
- Another sufferer was worried about appearing unintelligent during phone calls.
- Sales trainers say many professionals fear cold calling because they think they will annoy people
It is common among
- Sales professionals
- Public relations professionals
- Anyone else needing to make and receive calls to do their job
Getting over the problem
- Imagine the worst-case scenario-usually it is not as bad as you feared
- Understand why you are making the call. To inform or get some information ?
- Plan how you will start and end the call
- To practice, make calls where it is OK to mess up
- Know that you are not expected to be perfect.