Managing Telephone Conversations

Lizzie and Chris talk about the challenges of communicating when you can’t see the other person.

Making telephone calls to people we don’t know is a common fear, and completely normal!

The challenges are that you can’t learn from their visual responses how your messages are being received. So, you are dependent on what they say and how they say it for your understanding.

Without those visual cues, You have to be really good at Listening.

The benefit of communicating when you can’t see the other person is that you can’t be distracted by their visual responses – and your interpretation of them.

So, You have to be really good at Active Listening.

And, be in the best state.

Top Tip: Actively listen and be in the best state for successful phone conversations!


Podcast transcript

Hi everybody, welcome to Lizzie and Chris Communication Podcast. So today, we are going to be talking about Managing Telephone Conversations and also being able to (umm) sell over the telephone.

This is something which, which in business, you need to be really, really, you need to be really skilled at. When I say that, what I mean is (pause) you need to use these. (Lizzie points to her ears)

Can I use my own or do I have to use yours?

Laughs – Just your own

How does that work

Lizzie and Chris

I wasn’t sure if you’re hiring them out. That would just be great wouldn’t it. Whole new business for Lizzie.
I’m sorry my ears aren’t available until Friday 2pm-3pm.

Stop it
We’ll be back with you in a minute.

Oh that’s funny, I actually liked that though …until I started laughing too much and left it in

No, we’re keeping going

Oh are we keeping going

Course we keeping going, we not saying welcome to Lizzie and Chris’s podcast again

Ok, ok, well stop it then, be serious

Right ok, I’m serious


I’m listening

Yes you are, good.
You need to actively listen.

Oh ok

Because when you’re talking to somebody on the phone, and potentially for the first time as well and you’re trying to introduce yourself…

Yeah, Oh Cold Calling

…it’s really, really hard, it’s really hard (ummm) and (ummm)…..take over from me will you Chris

I’m going to because we talked in a previous podcast about managing your intrapersonal communications and creating the state before you operate and the importance of that in any context. And cold calling, and really that just about sums it up to me. I think that if there were two things that people have said to me over the years, these are the things that where I lose control of my state and the adrenalin takes over; the nerves and the fear take over:

It’s formal presentations and it’s cold calling.

And we have to learn how to manage our own emotional state, managing our own intrapersonal communications. And we have to have a clear desired outcome and it also, connects to what you were talking about in another previous podcast, about ethical selling, which we won’t get into now, but go back to that podcast if you’ve not seen it on ethical selling.

But you said, there’s a real skill set in managing phone conversation.

So if we pre-suppose you’re in the right state and if we pre-suppose that you’re selling ethically, or that’s your purpose eventually, then we are right back to the skill set that we refer to as active listening, aren’t we.
And that ability to match another person’s communication patterns and preferences when you can’t see them, is the obvious challenge.

I mean in cold calling, of course there is that you don’t know me, please don’t hang up on me issue, and there are all sorts of good reasons why we find that stressful.

Our brains evolve for us to feel pain if we experience social rejection.

Interestingly, if you kick me on the shin, which is digressing, but if we just talk about a bit of neuroscience for a second, if you kick me on the shin and I feel pain and we were monitoring my brain, a part of my brain, in the centre, would actually activate.

And if you like, you would see it flashing as it were, you would see it activating and it’s called pain.

But the same part of my brain activates if I feel social rejection.

So when I’m cold calling, the fear of that rejection is real and true and the challenge of it and the pain of it is real and true because back in the day, our ancestors probably didn’t survive if they were rejected by the group or the tribe.

And we’ve kept that now.

So we’ve got to manage all of that and then we’ve got to be great at Active Listening.

Robbed of sight.

Yes, which is something you can learn and you can learn how to improve.


I think one other thing for me as well, before that is, you obviously mentioned about the state and that’s very important to make sure you’re in the right state for when you’re doing this sort of work but also you need to have a process and you need to have a plan of what you’re going to achieve that day.


So for instance, with myself, I would have (mmm mmmm) the people who I want to get in touch with. And these people I want to get in touch with there are genuine reasons, business related reasons why, I want to talk to them because I genuinely believe that I’ve got something which will help or improve (mmm) them at work or within business, whatever it may be.

So I think that’s very important as well. It’s very important so that when you are calling people you know exactly why you are calling them. Because, we are all incredibly busy, we all work and live incredibly busy lives so it has to be relevant and you have to ask yourself that.

Once you’ve done that and you know exactly who you’re going to call, then what I always like to do is set myself a couple of personal targets and I like to say, right, so out of today how many meetings am I going to get, and I’ll put you know 1 or 2.

And then after that I’ll say and how many leads am I going to get. And what I mean by a lead is somebody who, they’ve expressed an interest through the communication and through the call but they’re not ready yet and there might be a number of reasons for that and that needs to be managed in a different way. But they are, they are showing a level of interest. But they are certainly not ready to go through to the next stage. So it’s really good to have that. And then obviously then we’ll come onto the call.

Now the best thing for me when I come onto the call is that I put myself, (laughs), I put myself, I get myself into the right state, I know where my breath needs to be within my body, I’ll always have it here (she points). Not too low, because I need to be high energy.

Is that something everybody should do or is that just for you?

Personally, I think that is just for me, exactly where I have it. However, I do think that if we all have our breath too low then we know we’re going to be really relaxed and chilled and that’s not going to be able to sell or entice somebody into the conversation.

And for me personally, I know that if my breath is too high, then I almost get giddy and my communication will be really bad, because I will be unclear about what I’m saying and I know that I will not be in the best state.

(mmm) And then I guess for me, when I pick up the phone, I’m always very clear in terms of who I am and make sure I have a great message so that the person I’m communicating with immediately knows what I’m talking about.

Because that’s probably the most important communication that you can have when you’re on the phone. That’s when they are going to want to continue listening to you, or not. (together)

So it’s really important that you think about that and you think about the words that you use.

You’re talking about thinking about the words and the words that you use, and that leads back into the whole idea of matching other peoples communication, and whilst we are disadvantaged on the phone because we can’t get visual cues that we can match and respond to and interpret it, we’re sort of advantaged I think…

Back in the day, I spent literally thousands of hours finding reasons to be on the phones and talking to people so I could match them without seeing them and you realise that…

When your eyes can’t play, it really allows you to, and you talked about active listening, to listen to:
Their language structure
The phrases they like
To listen to the tone, the pitch
And then eventually to even listen to their breathing which is the most powerful thing we can match with another human being.
To create that sense of rapport

Which of course, I want if I can make that great start, that you talked about, to get their engagement.

It also occurred to me that, and I appreciate we are coming to the end of our podcast, that when I was laughing at you earlier for talking about ears, I managed to go “well there’s a part of your brain (doing the action) so when I was talking about the Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex , which is just down there I had to sort of go, in case people didn’t know at home, this is where my brain is. I don’t know, so yeah you could have got me back for that one.

We can’t get away from the fact that we need to be great at managing phone calls


We can’t get away from that fact.
What’s today’s top tip Lizzie?

Today’s top tip is that (mmm) when you’re on the phone, actively listen.
More of this (points to her ears)

and control this (points to his head)

and less of this (points to her mouth)

Managing Telephone Conversations


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Managing Telephone Conversations | Lizzie Butler Communications