Monday, December 01, 2014

Walking and Talking

My job as a freelance writer occasionally requires me to speak on the phone. I say "occasionally" because 99.9 percent of the time I decline a job if the words "let's have a quick call" are mentioned.



A couple of times, I've made the mistake of agreeing to a call, only to realize about five minutes in that the person on the other end is interviewing me. To write a 500-word article! I've even had someone ask me the "strengths and weaknesses" question.



When I found myself in that situation, I should have politely declined and hung up. Instead, I went through with the interview and found I was actually nervous. Like it was this kind of job interview.



I noticed something. When I'm nervous and talking on the phone, I do this.



What is it about talking on the phone that makes us do strange things? Like this:



What do you do while you're talking on the phone?

89 comments:

  1. Now that I think about it, I wander around my house as well. Phone calls aren't my favorite thing.

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    1. Me either, Alex! Especially if I'm speaking to someone I don't know.

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  2. I always think I'll try to get something done if someone wants to talk.......but then I get wrapped up in the conversation and sit down!

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    1. Either that or the person on the other end starts asking what's going on because whatever you're doing is too noisy.

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  3. I fidget and yes, I pace like crazy person.

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    1. I used to wrap the telephone cord around and around my finger...now we don't have cords. What are we supposed to do?

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  4. Before turning full-time writer, I was an IT project manager...lived every minute of the day on a headset. You can't get me on the phone anymore.

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    1. I was in IT before going full-time, as well. Way too much people time!!! Perhaps that's it--we're still decompressing from all that talking we did in IT!

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  5. I would much rather email than talk on the phone - I like having time to think about what I'm going to say, to take a deep breath so I can respond and not react, etc. When I am on the phone, I pace, too.

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    1. I found most of the time when I was being asked to talk on the phone, it was just because that was the client's preferred method of communication. In recent months, I've just stopped accepting jobs that require phone conversations and it works out great. I'm now working with other people who prefer email...I think it's a communication compatibility issue!

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  6. Yes, when I'm nervous on the phone I pace so fast the other person sometimes asks if I'm working out! At which point, I sit and look for pen & paper to doodle, or just start folding paper over and over, anything to ease the nerves!

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    1. I can imagine! "Why are you out of breath? Are you at the gym?!"

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  7. lol I wonder around and have the cats following me, so I play with them, hoping their meowing will annoy the person on the other end and they'll hang up

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    1. I imagine people figure out not to call people who have young children, too! That's another benefit of working by email if you work from home, though. They'll never know it. I can even respond to work emails while I'm at the mall and they never know the difference!

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  8. phone calls give me creeps, I prefer emails and sms too! Probably because one of my ex bosses used to call me even when I was on my free time so I developed a phobia from hearing the phone ringing :) And don't we just despise the strengths and weaknesses question???

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    1. I accepted a press release writing job once for a doctor. He wanted to give all instructions by phone (which is difficult because basically you're playing transcriptionist while also being expected to carry on a conversation). After each draft, he wanted to give revisions by phone, too. He'd call me at all hours of the day and night. When he got angry one night because I didn't answer at 10pm, I told him this wasn't going to work out.

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  9. I do exactly what you do PLUS I usually force myself to do a task simultaneously so I don't totally waste my time.

    My new pet peeve is the person who sends 30 texts. THAT is an actual conversation, and it ruins all the convenience of texting.

    That irritant is neck and neck with my friend who has a bluetooth headset on to talk on the cell and talks to her family half the time she is one there. All the while, she is telling me how great it is, but the call keeps breaking up OR I will hear the background talk better than I hear her!

    I've ceased to be a phone person (exception: my mother).

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    1. My pet peeve when I worked in an office was speakerphone. There would always be "that guy" who left his office door wide open and carried on hour-long conversations on speaker so the whole world could hear. I learned to wear headphones all day!

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  10. I am a pacer! It drives my family nuts but for whatever reason I can't hold still while I am on the phone, doesn't matter who it is too or if I am nervous or not, I simply pace all over the house.

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    1. My husband does that, too...and we both work from home. I'm writing, so I'm sitting still and he just walks back and forth past me!

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  11. My favorite (?) phone is in my studio. Should I answer it, I play solitaire on the laptop. I never answer the other phones. Voice mail rules the roost.

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    1. I used to play Solitaire all the time! I don't even know if it's on this laptop.

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  12. ha! great post. So I pace LIKE CRAZY when I'm on the phone. Depending on how well I know the person, depends on my level of craziness. Like last weekend I chatted to a good friend I've known ten years so that's cool. But when I first spoke with my agent??? I paced. I searched my drawers for gum, b/c I chew when I'm nervous. I started unmaking and remaking my bed. I remember on Friends when Rachel took a call with her ex fiance she paced, and then in the ep where Ross finally gets in touch with Emily he gets so excited she finally called him that he randomly handed Chandler a lamp! ha!

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    1. Oh, when you're nervous, there's all kinds of crazy things you end up doing while on the phone! I remember when I was young, being on the phone with a boy I liked and doodling to make myself sit still!

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  13. i do tend to stand and pace back and forth a bit in the same room. :) i loved the first graphic. i do detest phone calls. :)

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    1. Me too. It's funny how few of us like talking on the phone, yet everyone we know seems to always prefer it!

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  14. I am not a phone person, at all. The only time I enjoy talking on the phone is when I am walking the dog and I call my mom or grandmother.
    When I am speaking to someone I am meeting for the first time, I get super nervous. This happened last month when I had an interview for my children's book over the phone. I think I said "like" about 100 times, ugg

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    1. It's even worse when it's an interview...especially if it's being recorded or they're writing down what I'm saying, Yikes! I'd rather do those through email if possible--you can take time to think through your responses.

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  15. Hi Stephanie! If I am talking to friends or family, I usually sit in a big comfy chair with a cup of something hot (coffee or tea). I have never had to do an interview before, but if I did, I'm sure I'd be sweating it BIG time. What if I get misquoted? What if what I say gets misconstrued? I don't envy you at all.

    At least you get a little aerobic workout in the process!
    Ceil

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    1. True. I need to invest in one of those treadmill desks!

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  16. LOL I realize I did the same thing, walk around the house depending on the type of call. I think Koda's losing his hearing but before when his hearing was sharp, he would always bark when the phone rang so I would have to leave the area to answer it, LOL :)

    Of course I do prefer to not talk on the phone, not my favorite mode of communicating :)

    betty

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    1. That's so funny--my mom's corgi always barked when the phone rings. My dog just looks around like, "What's that noise?"

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  17. I lived my working life talking on the phone. It was part of the job. I can sit, walk or make breakfast. I'm used to talking on the phone. I'm not saying it's my favorite thing to do, but it doesn't make me nervous. That's a whole different post.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. When I worked in an office, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was talk on the phone. Even in an office, toward the end I'd often reply to voicemails with emails! I worked with a lot of older people, so they'd often pick up the phone to ask something that could be asked in email. I liked having a paper trail so that when they later said they never told me something, I'd have proof they did!

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  18. I'm a sitter. I tend to lounge with the herd when on the phone. I so don't text. That one about hand up and text. Pffft. I'm the exact opposite. I get a text you're lucky if you hear back from me. Email or phone. lol

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    1. Email is my preferred communication method. Text to me is good for just sending a quick message to let someone know you're on your way. I hate long conversations by text, though. I do like the new Facebook Messenger...it comes through like a text on my phone so I know instantly when I have a message.

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  19. Because I spend a lot of time talking to clients I either take notes. Sometimes I doddle, and more times than I care to admit I am drifting in and out of attention. Bad?

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    1. I had two clients who hired content managers AFTER I'd started writing for them--neither content manager was American. They spoke very broken English and were difficult to understand, so I'd get about 10 percent of what they said. Interestingly, it was enough to get what I needed to know...which tells you a lot about how much of that 30 minutes was wasted listening to information that I didn't need!

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  20. An interview for a 500 word article? Ha! If I'm on the phone, I'm most likely surfing the net and saying, "Wait--can you say that again? I didn't hear you..."

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    1. It's funny--I wrote this a month ago and since then I had another one invite me to apply for an Elance job for one article. I applied, then he demanded my Skype address. I said, "I don't do Skype" and he replied, "You mean you want us to interview you by email?" Interview...for one article? No thanks! I immediately withdrew my proposal. It's just insane. If you're hiring a writer, what you need to know about that writer is in the samples he/she has attached. You aren't going to get much out of talking to a writer that will tell you about our writing talent, I can assure you of that!

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  21. Oh I walk too. And if the call is making me really uncomfortable I take the phone and walk outside. More often than I like to admit, I zone out...

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    1. I think part of it is being visually-oriented. Not all people process information well by hearing it. I'm one of those people...and you may be, too. I think visually-oriented people gravitate toward reading and writing as hobbies/careers, so it's possible THAT is why a lot of writers don't like to talk on the phone. We just tend to drift because we aren't getting the visual input we need.

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  22. First, I avoid phone conversations as much as possible. If I do take calls, I'll wind up outside pacing, wishing I could hang up.

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    1. Me, too! I end up making awkward, nervous conversation while trying to figure an "out." I've even tried the "ring the doorbell" trick. You ring the doorbell and say, "Oops, someone's at the door. Gotta go!" (Now that I've revealed it here, I can't try that trick again, but feel free to steal it...)

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  23. I usually lie down and relax. Most of my callers are long-winded, so I figure that I may as well get comfortable.

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    1. I remember back in the days of landlines having friends who talked so much and listened so little, I could set the phone down and go on with my life. I just had to tune in every now and then and say, "Uh-huh."

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  24. Like you I am not a big fan of talking on the phone -- unless it is my daughter or my little sister. I wear a Fitbit and I take full advantage of getting my steps in when they call! My house has a great floor plan for walking laps!

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    1. The new iPhone has a built-in step tracker. So your phone will count your steps while you talk!

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  25. I hate talking on the phone, so impersonal and often hard to hear with these cell phones

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    1. I know--plus you have to worry about getting makeup/face oils on your phone screen...you don't get that with texting!

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  26. I pace when I'm stuck talking on the phone too. I'm not a fan.

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  27. I'm a walker. I hate phones. Let's go back to smoke signals.

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    1. LOL...well, probably best to stick with texting and email. It's a little faster!

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  28. I despise talking on the phone. Unless it's my mother, I avoid most phone calls.

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  29. Me, too,I do not like talking on the phone.

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    1. Not a single person in the comments today said, "I LOVE talking on the phone!"

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  30. Oh retro gal here talks on the phone:) I will move around the house though since I can be on the phone for a while. I also change the phone from one hand to another but that is due to pain and my hand and arm going numb...you would think I would stop using the phone but, nope...still love it:)

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    1. You're the first one today! I knew someone HAD to still love talking on the phone, since I seem to meet plenty of people who do in the course of freelance work.

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  31. You mean besides grunt and hang up? I've always hated phones ..... I'm bad enough with conversational cues face to face, over the phone it's a disaster.

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    1. Me too...just because I CAN talk a lot doesn't mean I like to!

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  32. I can totally relate to this post! I can always tell when I am on a phone call I am nervous about because I start pacing like crazy. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Yeah, and if it's a call where I'm required to take notes, I start doodling in between the important points! Doodling is my "sit down" version of pacing, I guess!

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  33. I think it depends on the context, I don't really like to speak to persons I don't know.

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    1. Yeah, that's an entirely different issue for me...I don't like talking on the phone PLUS I'm nervous about speaking to strangers. So the combination is lethal when it comes to "interviewing" to write one article!

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  34. I'm almost always sitting down taking notes when I'm on the phone, because I do all my freelance interviews that way.

    I don't mind talking to someone on the phone before they hire me, but I usually dread personal calls...either because they're interrupting something, or because there isn't a graceful exit.

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    1. I'm horrible at exiting conversations. My husband can always gracefully get away just by saying, "Gotta go." I say "gotta go" and they keep talking.

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  35. If it's a casual conversation, I have my bluetooth in and I'm cleaning or filing papers...I don't like to think that I'm wasting my time when my hands can be doing something. If I need to be focused, I'll sit down. I've only had two interviews on the phone. They were both awkward. One needed to be on the phone, while the other could easily have been answered by email. I can talk for a long time in person with someone, but I always feel like most phone conversations are a waste of time.

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    1. I did a real job interview by phone once--it was one of those first-round things. This was back in the 90s. I remember being SO nervous. The whole thing was definitely very awkward.

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  36. I am a phone pacer extraordinaire!! Always have been.

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    1. Sounds like a lot of people are. I wonder if they've done a study on it?!

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  37. I also pace while on the phone, but strangely enough, I'm not nervous. It's more of an excitement that I get to hear myself talk. :D

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    1. LOL, that could be it. You're the star of your own radio show when you're on the phone!

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  38. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't like phones. Caller ID + answering machine = happiness. And by the way, my kid brought home a flyer for Scholastic Books and 30 Days of No Gossip was in it. I thought: Whoa! I've been to this author's website. How cool is that?

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    1. YAY! Thank you for letting me know. Scholastic bought the rights to both 30 Days and 25 Roses...I wasn't sure what the timeline on it showing up. I see it in the December 4th-grade flyer out there when I Google "30 Days of No Gossip Scholastic." SO exciting!

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  39. I walk all over the house when I'm on the phone, too. It was tough when I was a teen and the phone was still connected to the wall. lol!

    I'm with you. I would have thought to end the call early after I hung up. I don't always do well with on the fly/surprise situations. Sigh.

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    1. It's that shock...it takes our minds a while to process what's happening. I think it's also human nature to try to get someone to like you when you're being asked those questions. It's hard to say to yourself, "I really should just end this" in the moment.

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  40. I fidget, but I don't walk. Although I might. I'm not on the phone much or for any length of time. I'd be much happier if I could knit at the same time.

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    1. You just need a Bluetooth! I try to work while on the phone but I find I can't focus.

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  41. If some one asks me for a skype call, I decline! I'm never ever ready to do calls! I'm good online...emails and messages only!

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    1. The first two times someone asked me to do a Skype call, I thought it meant they wanted a video call. That was what Skype meant to me. The first time, we actually did video chat, but the second time they muted the video on their end. I then realized they just want a free way to make international calls and stopped doing video. I only once had someone ask why my video was muted. I just said I don't do video because I work from home and makeup is optional most days!

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  42. I don't have a a cell phone so I don't text. I don't mind emailing, in fact I prefer it but I can talk on the phone if I need to. My hubby walks all over the apartment when talking on the phone too. Not me I sit by the computer and watch videos gaining points on Swagbucks. lol

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    1. May as well make money while you're talking, right?!

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  43. I kept chuckling and nodding all the way through!

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  44. Interesting question. When I'm at home, I will often wander around, if only to get decent reception on my cell phone. At work, I'm basically stuck in my seat, unless I'm out at my alternate office, then I sit on a desk to answer/talk on the phone.

    Father Nature's Corner

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  45. I don't talk. I used squares of paper until 1999, and then texting became a thing. Never looked back.

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  46. Haha! I do this too! Of course, with my crappy ankles these days, I have to sit and take breaks more often LOL I find it so interesting that most writers I know claim to be introverted and get nervous talking to people. Why is that? People are mysteries!

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  47. Lol..even I do the same , I "walk and talk" & sometimes if at all I find a pen & paper placed infront of me while I'm on phone, I end up wri some random words on it from Our conversation!!

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