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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.


Join The Conversation
Lyv Lyv 9 years
Oh sugarbritches, what a great tip! I always smile throughout phone calls, it really helps me feel calm and get my tone of voice right.
Lyv Lyv 9 years
Ugh I hate talking on the phone, period! It takes me ages to feel comfortable calling someone. I have this friend who never has credits on her phone and she's called me collect a few times, asking me to call a friend to tell him to call her, I hope she never does that again.
sugarbritches sugarbritches 9 years
Here's a good when you introduce yourself. The other person will hear it in your voice and it helps break some of the ice.
emalove emalove 9 years
I'd prefer to talk in person, but I'm not intimidated when I have to call someone I've never met...just be friendly and cordial. No big deal.
jld392 jld392 9 years
trying to find a job=making lots of awkward phone calls
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I can't think of the last time I had to call someone I didn't know well for something important.
divinelight divinelight 9 years
I hate talking on the phone. I'm not bad at it, but I really prefer talking in person or in emails.
chicobo chicobo 9 years
thank GOD for email. :)
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I used to have such a problem with this! I was afraid to make my own doctor's appointments and would have my mom call instead. Of course, I was in high school so I think that was part of it :) Over time I have gotten used to it and no longer have any problems calling up anyone, as long as I have a legitimate reason to talk to them :)
colleenb colleenb 9 years
Anything that requires me to make a phone call never gets done.
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