Claire Bradford: are you terrified of the telephone?

When I was at school, I spent my breaks, my lunchtimes and, if truth be told, a large part of my lesson time chatting to my friends.

When the bell rang, we’d walk home together, chatting, then part to go home, do our homework and have tea.

When these rituals were over, we would phone each other up and spend hours chatting some more, while our parents despaired of ever being able to use the phone themselves.

They must have wondered what on earth we found to talk to each other about for so long.

I know it wasn’t just me and my friends – teenagers’ relationships with phones were much joked about in the 80s and early 90s.

So it’s funny that now almost everyone has their own phone constantly available to them, we seem to have lost the art of talking on the phone.

Many of my life coaching clients speak to me over the phone but, other than those pre-booked sessions, almost the only people who call my landline now are cold callers or my mum.

Clients, friends and family use my mobile number more often than not, but even then the very nature of phone calls has changed over the last decade.

Calls are becoming much shorter and mostly administrative in nature.

Chatting and catching up has been replaced by updating our statuses so that everyone can see what we’ve been up to, and many people avoid unscheduled phone calls (for home or business) for fear it will be an inconvenient time for the person they want to speak to.

Alternatively, they will send an email to me instead.

I’ve read a few articles recently extolling the virtues of the phone over email when it comes to reaching out to clients, but I have to confess to finding the idea uncomfortable and positively curl up into a ball when it comes to following up networking contacts over the phone.

I’m more than happy with face to face, email or social media communication though.

A straw poll of friends and networkers seems to suggest I’m not alone in this.

So I’m curious – what are your thoughts and feelings around using the phone for home or work?

Do you handle calls with confidence or are you horrified about the idea of picking up the phone?

Tweet me @coachbythecoast

Oh, you can use the phone now, dad.

Try not to laugh too hard…