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Making unsolicited calls

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Q. Part of my job is to call our customers and people I don’t know in my company’s branch offices. I’m really nervous when I have to pick up a phone and call strangers, especially if I have to ask them for something. But I’m evaluated in part on how well I make these calls. Any tips?

A. Don’t keep telling yourself you hate making the calls. The dread will sap your energy and increase your anxiety. Instead, just do it first thing in the morning. Get it over with. And when you pick up the phone, pretend you’re calling a friend. Speak in your natural, conversational tone; don’t stiffen up and adopt a fake, overly formal approach. With practice, you may find that you fall into a rhythm that’s not distressing and might even become pleasant.

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