We’re all on calls more these days. There’s such an emphasis to reach out and connect, but let’s be real – that isn’t easy and there are a few people who seem impossible to break! You know what I mean. Alas, since we all need to connect with others in one way or another, there are a few things to keep in mind if you really want to connect over the phone and are finding it hard.
I used to be a phone person. In college, I’d talk to family and friends on my way to and from classes. In grad school, I seemed to always be on the phone as I commuted from Oakland to Davis (a 90 minute drive). And then we moved to LA where I, surprisingly, stopped driving and was walking a whole lot less…
As I started talking on the phone less and less, I started avoiding it more and more! It hasn’t been too much of an issue since everyone else my age seems to be the same. But now, I’m having to step up my phone game.
So, before I jump into a few key things to remember if you’re trying to connect with someone (on a deeper level) over the phone, I have one thing to point out. You may have noticed above that my successful times of phone chatting were while I was driving and walking (i.e. not sitting at home).
I’ve always struggled to focus on phone calls sitting at my desk or on the couch. I think monotonous movement is one of the best ways to be on the phone. If you can’t walk or drive these days, try stretching while you chat with someone, try laying on your bed, arranging your flowers, or doing the dishes. Each of us is different and each moment’s vibe is different, but give it a try – I bet you’ll find you focus more on the conversation!
How to Connect Over the Phone
So, first things first. If you’re having trouble connecting with people, it’s important to remember that you’re 50% of the conversation. So if you can give it your all, the call is bound to be better.
Humans are inherently social creatures, so we feed off of one another (in the good way). So if you’re all in, chances are the other person will start to be all in as well.
So. What to remember…
BE HONEST, OPEN, & VULNERABLE. We all seem to notice that others aren’t forthcoming with their life and their realities. But are you doing the same thing?
Instead of waiting for the other person to admit vulnerability, start by sharing yours. If you’re struggling with something, be forthcoming with that. You don’t need to go into detail at first, but mention the thing that you’re dealing with.
You can follow it up with how you’re making progress or you can leave it there as a battle you’re still fighting. Chances are good, your chatting partner will be able to connect with your weakness rather than shooing it away.
ASK BETTER QUESTIONS. We all know that questions are the best (and only?) way to really start a conversation, but some questions just suck.
You may have noticed that asking “how are you?” often yields the response of “good” regardless of whether or not things are actually good.
One of my dear friends, Lynn Chen, text me a few weeks ago and asked how I was doing today – just that one day. It kind of caught me off guard with how intentionally focused her question was.
Somehow we can easily say things in general are good, but when the question changes just slightly, we have to think about the answer.
Since then, I’ve been asking, “how are you doing these days?” even to strangers and everyone seems to do a little sigh and then tell me something more than just “good” or “fine.”
After that initial check-in question, get specific. Ask about certain things related to family, work, hobbies – whatever they do!
Most people will then start to ask you those same questions…and remember to be open, honest, and vulnerable if needed.
TO CALL OR TO VIDEO. Everybody seems to be Zooming and Facetiming these days. We have this weird association that socializing has to be face to face. But if you’re “zoomed-out” (or want to do one of those movement things I suggested above), a video call probably isn’t the best idea. Suggest a phone call instead.
REACH OUT TO FRIENDS OLD & NEW. As you look to socialize, remember that there are all the people you know and more people you don’t. If you feel talked out to some people, try reaching out to others.
Before SIP went into place, I was on a mission to connect with at least one new (to me) person in Sacramento each week. After SIP, I stopped, figuring I’d have to wait until it was over. Then I realized that was pure madness and now I’m back to it.
The first week, I sent IG messages to two women I’d met at a networking meeting a few weeks before. One of them introduced me to two others. And I found a few others with whom I could connect. And you know what? Everyone has been excited to chat – to make new connections, possibly make new friends, and just switch things up.
Sending you all love and strength!