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The How-To Lounge: Calling Someone You Don't Know

The How-To Lounge: Calling Someone You Don't Know

Whether it’s for work or personal reasons, calling someone you don’t know can be very intimidating. For whatever reason — perhaps because all of the normal body-language clues are removed — the phone seems to make even the most mundane conversations a little more awkward and uncomfortable. Fortunately, getting past the fear of the phone just takes some practice, so to learn some tips for calling someone new,


  • Even though it’s only the first 30 seconds, the introduction is often the hardest part. My rule of thumb is to confirm you’re speaking to the right person, introduce yourself, and give your reason for calling. Keep it short and simple.
  • If you know the person through someone else, make sure to include that along with your name so they understand that you’re not just a random caller.
  • While I won't recommend that you write down everything you plan to say before you sit down and dial, if you're really nervous, it can help to jot down the first thing that you'll say, or any of the topics you need to cover. Even if you don't use it, it might make you feel more comfortable just knowing the cheat sheet. is there
  • Although small talk and pleasantries can be important when it comes to breaking the ice, they can also lead to awkward conversations and lingering silences, so it’s not a bad idea to leave them until the final moments of the call when you have more of a rapport.
  • Even if you’re keeping the small talk to a minimum, it’s still important to stay pleasant and kind throughout regardless of the person on the other end of the line. I always wait for the other person to finish talking before chiming in with my own thoughts, and I try to end the call with as sincere of a “thank you” or “it was great talking to you” that I can muster

Remember, practice makes perfect so don’t avoid making phone calls even when you don’t want to.


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