I’m terrible on the phone. Absolutely horrible. Most people are surprised when they learn that little tidbit of trivia. Because…
A.) “How the hell are you bad on the phone if you’re a voice actor and podcaster?”
I get it. I’m a voice actor and podcaster. I talk for a living. But I assure you, it can be done.
B.) Apparently, I’m actually not all that bad on the phone nowadays.
Part of (if not most of) what I do as voice over talent and podcaster revolves around jumping on the phone to chat with existing and potential clients. One of my weaknesses is a giant part of my job.
But even though I’m not great off script, I wasn’t about to let this challenge stand in my way of what I loved to do. I devised a plan years ago that still works today:
Before I dial, I plan out exactly what I’m going to say.
I write out scripts tailored for leaving a voicemail in addition to one if I end up reaching the person I’m trying to contact, all with anticipated replies and my responses.
If I don’t, the call is filled with distracted ramblings, muttered apologies and more instances of native Southern California drawlings of the word “um” than I’d care to admit.
I’m not joking.
The point isn’t to be as neurotic as I am necessarily, but to identify and improve on your weaknesses. I get flustered and excited on the phone. In the early days of my first business, I sounded unprofessional and young, which was a battle in and of itself when starting out at the age of 18.
So I found a way to get around the obstacle. I searched online for information on proper phone etiquette. I looked for studies that let me know which language to use that would be most effective in encouraging the client to take a desired action. I started planning out what I was going to say and started practicing aloud before I picked up the phone.
Even if you never end up turning your weakness into a strength, putting in the effort, time, and practice can result in significant improvements. You may even find that you soon progress to a point where what you would describe as a “weakness” turns into being, “not too shabby.”
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