JOHN CURLEY AND SHARI ELLIKER

John & Shari call ‘The Phone Lady’ to help overcome phone phobia

Jan 11, 2023, 4:06 PM | Updated: 4:20 pm
phone anxiety...
Do you have 'phone phobia'? Then you should call 'The Phone Lady.' (Photo by David Hahn/Unsplash)
(Photo by David Hahn/Unsplash)

In an effort to combat “phone phobia” in the modern world, Mary Jane Copps and her Phone Lady brand has been working with companies in North America, England, and Australia to improve their staff members’ phone skills.

Copps biggest challenge yet? Getting Andrew Endzell of The John and Shari Show to overcome his anxiety when talking on the phone.

“The first thing I would ask Andrew is if he’s experiencing phone anxiety, what is that experience like?” Copps asked. “The two most common answers I get to that question are, ‘I’m afraid because I have no idea what this call is about.’ So it’s an incoming call, and they need to answer it because they’re in customer service or something, but because they have no idea what’s on the other end, they would prefer not to answer that call.”

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Telephobia is the reluctance or fear of making or taking phone calls. It has many names — including phone phobia and phone anxiety — and is commonly compared to glossophobia (stage fright).

“And because they are used to having 100% control of communication when we put words on a screen, we are 100% in control. We can edit, we can read it back, and then we hit send,” Copps said. “So a phone call is about being impromptu and just accepting whatever happens. And that can be scary if you haven’t practiced it at all.”

Copps stated that, while her work mainly consists of groups and teams, roughly 40% of her clients represent “cuspers” — people born within three to five years of the beginning or end of a generation, like Andrew.

Copps’ first piece of advice for Andrew was to create an agenda.

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“What I explained to him in this situation is he’s going to answer the phone, and whatever the person on the other end has to say, he’s going to listen very carefully,” Copps said. “And then he’s going to create an agenda for the call.”

“I think I don’t like this [segment] so much,” Andrew said.

Listen to John and Shari exercise Andrew’s anxiety with “The Phone Lady” here:

Listen to John Curley and Shari Elliker weekday afternoons from 3 to 7 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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John & Shari call ‘The Phone Lady’ to help overcome phone phobia