Speaking by Phone

Several parents have asked me to address the unique challenges that accompany phone conversations. Speaking by phone can be particularly daunting for someone to whom social interaction does not come naturally, but has taken the time to learn to read and respond to the visual cues that become unavailable over the phone. Here are several tips for successful interactions over the phone.

1. Listen with your full attention. There are many subtle yet important pieces of information to be gathered from the inflection, volume, tone and timbre of the voice of the person with whom you are speaking. Don't try to catch every cue, just tune your mind in and absorb the conversation behind the conversation.

2. Visualize the conversation. Picturing the person to whom you are speaking won't provide any actual visual cues, but it may allow you to match the speakers inflection with previous conversations to help you picture what their body language might be like.

3. Be honest about your discomfort. If you feel out of your depth than say so and request another forum. Either Skype or continuing the conversation in person.

4. Write down your thoughts. If there is something important you want to be sure to address, write them down so that you don't get flustered or derailed. Besides important things, you can also jot down small talk topics to fill the pauses.