But in most fields, talking on the phone is still very much a thing that lots of people still expect, and if you avoid picking up the phone until you’re directly ordered to, you’re making your life harder and you’re not mastering a pretty basic professional skill that managers are going to expect you to have.In fact, I’ve heard a zillion managers say a version of this about junior staff members: “She kept telling me she hadn’t heard back from the person who we’re waiting on info from, but said she had followed up several times.Here’s the problem: often, the client will ask if I can “jump on the phone” for a quick talk or schedule a teleconference.
but from a business perspective, is there a way I can refuse this request without seeming like a lunatic?
I’m aware that insisting to communicate only by email could lose me some jobs, but I have enough work that I’m okay with that. As long as you’re okay with the possibility of losing business from people who feel more comfortable if they can talk by phone — and you are — you absolutely can do this.
And for most people, “I hate the phone” isn’t sufficient reason to avoid using it when it makes sense for your job.
Plus, if you let yourself avoid it, you’re prolonging the problem because the more you avoid talking on the phone, the more anxious you’ll be about it.
I work with some regular clients, but a lot of my work is one-off projects for small business clients.
I’m always open to new clients, though I also have a steady stream of work, enough to be comfortable.
For example, you can say: “My schedule makes it hard for me to jump on the phone, but I’d be glad to answer any questions you have by email, and I can usually be quite responsive that way.” Or if you want to be clearer that you’re always going to be unavailable by phone: “I have a medical issue that means I don’t use the phone, but I’d be glad to answer any questions you have by email, and I can usually be quite responsive that way.” The rest of this post doesn’t apply to you, but I’m going to hijack it in order to talk about phone phobias more generally.
Generally speaking, I think people who dislike the phone would be doing themselves and their careers a service if they sucked it up and got on the phone even when they don’t want to.
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