As a journalist student, you’re expected to make lots of phone calls as part of your training.
But what happens if you have phone call phobia, or as it’s also simply known as, phone phobia? (Well, its ‘technical’ name is telephobia). Don’t laugh! It’s a real thing. This makes making a phone call to get or conduct an interview that much harder.
It also means my routine when calling someone looks a little like this:
- I get my little notepad out and write down all the questions I want to ask, limiting them to five questions (and therefore ready to ask questions on the fly, of course).
- I muse over them. I perfect them. I re-write four of the five questions.
- I check the time. Goodness, I’ve spent over an hour just getting these questions ready.
- I re-check the name and number of the person I’m about to interview.
- I check that the pen I have has enough ink. This means adding three more pens to the mix because I can’t see inside the pen itself and the ink flow is a bit sketchy.
- Then I really need a glass of water; I line my pens up neatly next to each other when I return to my desk.
- I realise I’m just stalling now. I really need to call my interviewee-
- Hang on, when’s my next assignment due again? Not tomorrow already was it?
- OH MY GOD. It is. Still, I really have to do this interview because that’s also due tomorrow.
- Another hour later after more procrastination and several drinks of water, I press the green“call” button, heart thumping and my pen ready.
- I get voicemail.
So. That’s how it tends to go with my interviews. Until they call back. Then I need to press the “answer” button.
Yep. It can be tough being a journalist student with telephobia.