Do you have any tips on how to make important phone calls when you need to but it’s difficult? I always end up getting myself all panicked about them and sometimes consequently unable to make them, but I can’t not worry about them because then I’ll put it off too long or forget about it. Thank you so much for having this blog, by the way, it’s amazing.
I’m not great at making phone calls, but I’ve gotten a bit better in recent months.
I use my computer for cognitive support in making calls. Whenever I make a call, I usually do three things:
- Take out my computer and write a plan for the call
- Make the call
- Keep my computer at hand so I can take notes
Here is how I use my computer before the call:
- I write out notes for what I need to say
- Sometimes I write a script, and sometimes I just write bullet points for topics I need to hit or questions I need to ask
- If there’s a possibility that I will need to leave a message, then I write out a script for the message.
- (One of the worst parts of phone calls for me has been worrying about what will happen if I have to leave a message, so writing out exactly what to say helps a lot. It makes the thought of leaving a message more bearable, and less of a barrier to making calls)
- There’s a thread about phone messages here here.
Here’s how I use my computer during the call:
- I type notes on things that sound important
- Or that I think I might not understand
- And if I’m not sure I understand something, sometimes I type out the question I want to ask before I ask it (It can be hard for me to use my voice to generate questions in real-time)
- Writing out notes is considered normal; writing out questions is not
- But if you say you need to write something down, people won’t know which it is. So if you need to type things out in order to form a question, you can say “Let me write that down” or “hold on a minute”, and then actually just type the question then ask it
I’ve found that, now that I have strategies in place for managing phone calls a bit better cognitively, I procrastinate slightly less. It’s still not great, though.
Sometimes I also have someone sit with me while I make the call, or tell me to make the call. Like, I will ask a friend “So, I should call x now, right?” and they will say “Yes, go do it”, and that will get me unstuck.