The Phone Lady's Blog

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phone phobia

Let’s Get Comfortable with Phone Conversations

By Mary Jane Copps | April 6, 2024
man talking on the phone

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the word ‘comfortable’. Over 10% of the CEOs and senior executives who responded to the 2024 Report of Phone Communication Trends included this word in their comments. Here are a few examples of how the word was used: “Employees … Read more

What Do We Undervalue?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 25, 2024

Following through on an idea, especially one that involves using unfamiliar skills or putting ourselves in the spotlight, is a tremendous challenge. The possibilities of failure, appearing foolish or wasting one’s time all conspire to create doubt and, perhaps, a bit of procrastination. I’m well acquainted with this … Read more

Coaching Tips for Call Reluctance

By Mary Jane Copps | February 11, 2023
woman talking on the phone

Over the past 35 years, I’ve spent a lot of time reading resumes and interviewing candidates to fill proactive calling positions. It’s something my clients still ask me to do. And what was true in 1987 is still true today. Finding the right people is challenging because … … Read more

Coaching Tips for Phone Anxiety

By Mary Jane Copps | January 29, 2023

Both making and taking phone calls require skills. Whether you are managing a team responsible for these tasks, or you’re coaching yourself, you need to be able to distinguish between phone phobia/fear and phone anxiety. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a phobia is a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear … Read more

Coaching Tips for Phone Phobia

By Mary Jane Copps | January 14, 2023
young woman working at desk looking at phone

Picking up the phone to contact and speak with customers or prospects is not “old-fashioned”. There are teams dedicated to this activity in industries that range from pharmaceuticals to finance, and from janitorial to consulting. Managing these teams, and producing the desired results (or exceeding them), can be … Read more

Solutions for Common Phone Communication Challenges

By Mary Jane Copps | August 26, 2022

The first time I encountered the phrase “phone phobia” was back in 2005, when I was preparing to launch The Phone Lady. At that time I was surprised to learn that making and receiving calls was an actual documented fear. Fast forward 16 years and the topic of phone … Read more

Powerful Words: The Reason For My Call

By Mary Jane Copps | September 10, 2020
woman making business phone call

One of the most important “tricks” to effective telephone communication lies in acknowledging this simple fact: every phone call is an interruption. While this was true when I began my career on the phone (1987), people still had “space” in their day. They could, and would, find time … Read more

Overcoming Call Reluctance (Part I)

By Mary Jane Copps | November 15, 2019
man talking on the phone

There was great feedback during my recent Dial In webinar on call reluctance. The one that stands out for me the most was from a participant who commented that they didn’t realize other people were struggling with the same issues around picking up the phone. I believe that … Read more

Walking Your Talk … On The Phone

By Mary Jane Copps | March 17, 2018

Twitter colleague Dimitra Chronopoulos often shares her phone success with me, something I truly appreciate. In her last post, she also included a question, one that I often get asked but have never included here. So … today’s the today! Here’s Dimitra’s post: Had 3 fantastic phone conversations … Read more

A Lesson From The Front Row

By Mary Jane Copps | March 11, 2018

She was one of the last arrivals to the workshop and ended up sitting in the front row. In the crowded space, I could almost reach out and touch her. For 90 minutes I was aware of her furrowed brow and how, when others laughed at my jokes, … Read more

6 Steps to Get You On The Phone!

By Mary Jane Copps | April 23, 2017

We all procrastinate about something. Whether it relates to our finances, home repairs, writing projects or exercise, each of us has at least one thing we know we must do … but we don’t. (Housework tops my list!) While procrastination may simply be a natural human characteristic, it’s important to … Read more

Who’s On Your “Hot List”?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 24, 2016

Whether you are an entrepreneur building your business or a salesperson working towards making (or exceeding) budget, maintaining a “hot list” is essential to success. Simply put, a hot list contains the names of prospects that you believe are going to become customers, and it includes an estimate … Read more

The Language of Grief

By Mary Jane Copps | September 18, 2016

At a conference in mid-August I had the priviledge of attending a presentation by Amy Florian, CEO of Corgenius. A powerful, engaging speaker she provided everyone in the audience with a new and invaluable understanding of the language of death. I’m honoured that she has agreed to provide … Read more

Ready, Set, Crunch … The Numbers You Need for Year-End Success

By Mary Jane Copps | September 4, 2016

Wow … what a crazy August it’s been for The Phone Lady. I’ve had the honour of attending a conference in Iowa, working with very energetic sales and customer service teams in Toronto and travelling to all  four Atlantic provinces in four days to share phone communication skills with startups. … Read more

The Second Call

By Mary Jane Copps | August 21, 2016

  This week I’m honoured to introduce you to Dimitra Chronopoulos. She and I have connected through this blog, Twitter and LinkedIn and she has generously offered to share with us one of her own “phone stories”.   Are you reluctant to make a second phone call when … Read more

Show, Don’t Tell

By Mary Jane Copps | August 14, 2016

My mother’s name was Mercy Stone Goodwill. She was only thirty years old when she took sick, a boiling hot day, standing there in her back kitchen, making a Malvern pudding for her husband’s supper. A cookery book lay open on the table: “Take some slices of stale … Read more

Whose Time Are You Wasting?

By Mary Jane Copps | August 7, 2016

  This summer I’ve had the honour of working with smart, dedicated, enthusiastic sales teams. While each group was unique, they all shared a passion for their work, for learning and  for understanding  the “why” of today’s effective phone communication. This resulted in training sessions so full of ideas … Read more

Expectations: Yours or Theirs?

By Mary Jane Copps | July 24, 2016

Customer service often finds its way into conversations I have with family, friends and colleagues.  Whether it’s fabulous, good or deplorable, it ‘s something we all notice and we freely share our experiences with others. Good service means doing what the customer expects, and while this sounds simple, … Read more

The Power and Beauty of the Human Voice

By Mary Jane Copps | July 17, 2016

In 2003 a friend encouraged me to start a business centred on phone communication skills. I was skeptical.  He insisted. At this point, I’d been working with him part-time for 2 years, and he’d listened to me as I’d grown his software business from 11 clients to over 100 … Read more

Summer’s Ease = Opportunity

By Mary Jane Copps | July 2, 2016

It is tempting. I’m struggling with it a bit myself – a desire to slow down, go to the beach, read on the deck  – basically behave like I did in elementary school and September seemed a very distant possibility. But don’t give in to that temptation because you’ll miss … Read more

Mid-Year Logic for Year-End Success

By Mary Jane Copps | June 26, 2016

The summer I turned 18, I spent as much time as possible at my sister’s cabin, an isolated homestead deep in the woods of Northern Ontario. And I often brought along a friend to enjoy the canoeing, reading, swimming and hiking. One friend came prepared for the possibility … Read more

The Forgotten Follow Up – Part Four

By Mary Jane Copps | June 5, 2016

Whether each of us will admit it or not, we have all “dropped the ball” when it comes to following up. Even when we use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system), it is still possible to click past a reminder, telling ourselves we’ll get back to it tomorrow, tomorrow, … Read more

Follow Up Builds Trust – Part Three

By Mary Jane Copps | May 27, 2016

In a recent workshop, a participant shared this challenge: Ten days earlier she had spoken to a prospect she has wanted to work with for years. It was a great conversation and the prospect did agree to take the next step  – move into the discovery stage of sharing … Read more

Follow Up as Art – Part Two

By Mary Jane Copps | May 22, 2016

The phrase “follow up” can be defined as an activity carried out in order to further develop earlier work. For me this brings to mind the stages involved in creating a painting, or sculpture, or writing a book. For all works of art, there is a constant returning, a … Read more

The Language of Following Up – Part One

By Mary Jane Copps | May 14, 2016

Early in April I received a sales call that caught my attention. It was from VoiceAmerica; they produce podcasts. In her voicemail message, the woman who called identified herself as a “producer” and used words that sparked my interest, i.e. discovered you, the research we’ve done, expand your audience, … Read more

Cold Calling – The Beginning of Service

By Mary Jane Copps | May 1, 2016

After hearing from clients, friends and colleagues that it was a “must see” for me, I recently took the time to watch The Wolf of Wall Street. While it doesn’t fit my taste in films, it does include some wonderful dialogue on the use of the telephone and … Read more

What Do Others Hear?

By Mary Jane Copps | April 24, 2016

  In each of my workshops there is at least one person who believes that the sound of their voice prevents them from communicating effectively on the telephone. This is rarely true. But all of us have habits that we’ve woven into our speaking patterns that can – … Read more

The Cold Call – It’s Essential Research

By Mary Jane Copps | April 17, 2016

I recently received a phone call from a woman working for Pitney Bowes. Her call was the  4th or 5th call I’ve received from the company this year. She wanted to sell/lease me a postage meter. (When I mentioned these calls to the young participants in a workshop, they asked … Read more

The #1 Way to Build Relationships

By Mary Jane Copps | April 10, 2016

  “The conversation is the relationship.” Susan Scott, CEO & Founder, Fierce Inc. I recently received a note from an entrepreneur who participated in one of my October workshops. He shared that the techniques we worked on continue to have a positive impact on his company’s ability to connect with … Read more

Cold Calling? Know the Answers to These Two Questions

By Mary Jane Copps | April 3, 2016

Imagine for a  moment that you are at your desk working on a project, proposal or responding to email. Your phone rings. You look at call display but do not recognize the phone number. Curiosity trumps the irritation of being interrupted and you answer the call. Someone begins speaking … Read more

CBC Radio
Maritime Noon with Bob Murphy - On the phone-in: Mary Jane Copps has advice on making phone calls to people who are phone-averse. Listen in >
Radio New Zealand logo
How to tackle your telephone hang-ups. People with bad cases of telephone anxiety can experience nausea, increased heart rate and shortness of breath at the sound of a ringtone. Listen in...

Phone Phobia Hits the News

Phone phobia, or telephobia, has been getting a lot of attention in the news recently. See what Mary Jane has to say about it...
Margins of Error with Harry Enten
CNN's Harry Enten asks why we’re avoiding phone calls and whether we can be coached through our telephone-related nerves in this Margins of Error podcast featuring Mary Jane.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
22 Minutes correspondent, Brandon Hackett, figures out which end is up on this thing called a telephone, with help from The Phone Lady. Watch Telephone Lessons for Millennials.