Fear of Phone Conversations at Work

I had something close to a heart-to-heart talk (phone conversation) with someone in the past and I’ll never forget what this person told me. He said: “Everyone has their own struggles no matter how trivial it may appear.”

And quite honestly, I felt this soothing calmness in my nerves.

For one, I was very relaxed to know that he actually appreciated that I might be going through my own storms even if it’s not worth anything to him, depending on what his life encounters have been and what he sees as a challenge or not.

So my respect for him heightened.

It wasn’t that this was the first time I would hear someone say something similar. I just appreciated it a whole lot more giving the pondering and wondering phase I was going through at the time.

It could have been nothing to someone else, but it meant a whole lot more to me.

You see, I like it when people, in general, recognize that humans are all different and that’s why I thought it was about time I addressed this in a written note. By now, you know that I love documenting.

When I was going through this major challenge, I thought I was alone. And many times we think that we are alone. So we pull back from speaking to someone which is very understandable because we don’t believe that anyone will appreciate how much we are struggling, dying in silence, and all what not.

Talking on the phone is torture for some people for several reasons:

  • Some people love their privacy and want to feel alone when speaking on the phone;
  • Some are socially awkward and this could create phone phobia since it’s a form of social interaction;
  • Since phone conversations allow for only communication through voices, it may be limiting for some people and hence become too uncomfortable, etc.

A major challenge is when a person has a phone phobia and has to work every day in an open-plan office. If your boss and colleagues are also in earshot, hearing your conversation, you could panic a great deal.

Oh jeez… it’s a tough one.

Imagine battling with the phobia you suffer from and being uncomfortable since you feel everyone in the office can hear you speak.

With phone conversations, many things are going through your mind all at the same time. Will I speak clearly for the other person to understand? Do I sound good enough?

There is a lot of nervousness and uncertainty concerned and this or more could be detrimental to your productivity and success depending on your job requirements.

I guess that one major reason why phone conversations can be a pain in the ass is mainly that our generation has become so used to emails, texts, and social media. So having to talk to a real person that you aren’t too familiar with could pose to be a burden.

I’ll share a few tips that have worked wonders for me in the past.

Write it Down

If this is your battle, it helps to plan out your phone conversation in advance. Write out your key talking points and everything you’ll love to discuss during the phone conversation.

With this phone phobia, it helps to plan well ahead of time to conquer your fears. Pretend to ask yourself questions the receiver may throw at you and write that down as well, including answers you’ll give.

This will prevent you from thinking on your feet and responding from the top of your head. Rather, you’ll be much more organized and calm.

Phone Phobia at Work


As silly as this may seem, it’s quite practical and works as well. Smiling gives the imagination that this person can see you at the other end. When I feel nervous on the phone, I smile and sometimes chuckle.

I tend to assume that this person can see that I’m friendly and I think they hear that in my voice as well. Smiling equally relaxes your nerves and helps you pull through the phone conversation.

Chip in Small Talk

When starting a phone conversation, try to start out with small talk to create a relaxing and friendly atmosphere.

This doesn’t mean that you have to become a comedian overnight, it just helps you start out the conversation smoothly. You can talk about the weather, commute, and any latest news.

Generally, I try to stay out of politics or religion since everyone has their personal views and opinions and it’s important to respect that. The idea is to stay on the same page, not begin a debate or argument.

Try to avoid any controversies as much as possible and don’t deviate from your topic.

Send out an Email First

Personally, I like to send out an email first before placing a call if the information is really important. Then I wait for a response. And if I don’t get a response after some hours, I then put a call across to the person.

If it’s extremely urgent or the person is just next door, of course, I’ll give a call or just walk up to the person.

I do this for several reasons, but mainly because; I know that people are busy at work and may not have the time to answer their calls or go through their voicemail. Some other people are so nervous and hate to pick up their phones.

Either way, anything works!

If you get a response soon enough, good for you! You don’t get to make that scary phone call. If not, at least you tried to avoid that phone call. Get the gist?


Well, what can I say?

Tactical breathing sure helps calm your nerves and relaxes every form of tension. Breath in and out. Drink a glass of water. Sit straight and get ready for that call.

Take your Call Outside the Office (if possible)

If you have a mobile phone provided by your office for business related matters, then this is somewhat good for you. You can choose to step out of the office to a quiet place where you feel most comfortable to have the phone conversation.

Unfortunately, if your organization doesn’t provide a phone and mobile plan for you, I’m afraid this tip wouldn’t be helpful and you can move on to the next.

Just Make the Call Already!

Honestly, if you need to get your job done and a call is a necessity, you can’t keep living in fear. It’s like being a customer service agent and avoiding that phone call.

You can do it!

Just face your fears and in no time you’ll be a guru in phone conversations. Keep working towards conquering your fears and being your very best in all you do.

Do you have phone phobia or do you feel uncomfortable having a phone conversation at your workplace? How have you been able to address it? Please share other suggestions you may have in the comment section.

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