3 tips to overcome your phone call anxiety as an entrepreneur

Rinkel collega Omri
Omri Walstra
update: 26 January 2023

Maybe you don't get bothered by it, or maybe you don't realise that you do. Generations since the rise of smartphones have been using fewer and fewer calling minutes. Quick alternatives like sending a WhatsApp message or an email are literally at your fingers tips and, most importantly, don't require direct contact.

Personally, I know the feeling all too well. Sending emails is the easiest thing to do. But if you don't get a reply after a while, then what? I told myself the company didn't have the answer I was looking for after all, instead of contacting them by phone.

You miss a lot of opportunities because of this. Companies often receive hundreds of emails and by the time they reach yours, it might already be too late.

In my search for an internship position, it happened regularly: I had put so much time into writing a perfect e-mail, but two weeks after sending I was still left without a reply. The moment I finally picked up the phone and called companies, I immediately got an interview at two companies! You probably recognise situations like this, having encountered them as well. And for people with call anxiety, this happens often.

The phenomenon of call anxiety is a well-known concept, but let me introduce it briefly.

Where does call anxiety come from?

What's the real science behind the phenomenon? Many experts agree: the fear of calling or being called is a type of social phobia.

Corine Dijk, psychologist and behavioural scientist says it most likely comes from the underlying fear of unpredictable situations. You don't know what the reaction will be and you have to react quickly. You probably know the feeling: You're standing in the shower and suddenly you come up with the best response ever to one of the questions the interviewer asked you. Now you're bummed. If only you said it when it mattered.

This feeling is one of the biggest reasons why you (might) prefer to just send an email. You won't suffer this feeling, because you have the time and space to think about your answer(s) and way of formulating sentences and get to carefully choose your words. Besides, this way you avoid direct confrontation and rejections will feel less personal.

Despite talking about the rise of call anxiety, calling is definitely not on its way out here. The past three years, the amount of call minutes has increased by 43%! And that despite the existence of WhatsApp, SMS and email. But with calling playing a bigger role in society, the anxiety levels of (mainly) the newer generations are also rising.

But what are we worried about? Tell me.

The moment you receive a phone call, you don't answer angriliy, do you? Of course not! So why should we fear that the recipient of our phone call will? And no, you won't be calling at a bad time either, because then your call would simply not be picked up.

Who suffers from call anxiety?

Everyone suffers from social stress from time to time, depending on the situation. Call anxiety is most prominent around teenage years to middle age. But the group missing the most opportunities because of this are students and young adults. Educational institute Motivaction tested that nearly 40% of people aged between 18 and 30 experience it.

The generation-dominant phenomenon will affect young entrepreneurs. The issue being that this generation doesn't call anymore. We're no longer used to it, having all other means of communication to our disposal. Research has shown that just 35% of young people regularly make phone calls.

Even making a doctor's appointment is considered uncomfortable. The reality remains that calling will always play an important role in the workplace. Sales calls or customer contact are unavoidable.

To add to this, the numbers from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK) show that people enter the business world as entrepreneurs earlier and earlier. That means that an increasing number of people in the professional world experience call anxiety. And in a world where entrepreneurs definitely have to use the phone, it might come with a lot of struggle for young entrepreneurs suffering from call anxiety.

You might still think: "I'll just send an email." But that's not always the solution.

Why is sending emails not always a good idea? You write the perfect response or question, and things still get lost in communication.

In a written conversation, the following often happens: The words are there, but the reader becomes the narrator. Wheree you could have used intonation to emphasise and explain your story, the message loses meaning through the screen.

3 disadvantages of WhatsApp and email

  • The power of your voice gets lost
  • Getting a response might take a long time
  • Defending yourself or substantiating is difficult

Moreover, miscommunication is more likely to occur because readers interpret your text in their own way. For instance, your cheerful e-mail may be received very differently.

So should we stop using WhatsApp and email completely? No, there are definitely scenarios where and email or WhatsApp is appropriate and the best choice. WhatsApp Business is a very suitable option for your business with a reason! But we often reach for our keyboard too quickly, as anxiety takes over. So what can we do about it?

As mentioned before, we're no longer used to making calls. The best way to get over that is to re-learn and get used to it again! Make calling a habit by reaching for a phone call more often. Start with friends and family, and get to know your own voice.

Now it's your turn. Pick up the phone and get going. We've listed some of our best tips to make practicing a bit easier.

3 tips against call anxiety

Here's some recommended tips & tricks to conquer your call anxiety:

  1. Prepare well: It helps if you write down what you want to discuss your calls so you won't forget any detail.
  2. Don't spend too long staring at your phone: Don't allow room for doubt and just hit the green button the moment you've typed in the number.
  3. Don't be afraid to briefly repeat what was discussed: Phone calls often move very quickly, so taking a moment to summarise is a good idea. It'll provide clarity for everyone, and gives you room to think about any follow-up answers or questions.


Of course, besides these tricks to make you feel a bit more comfortable on the phone, there's only one real way to get over your anxiety: Just do it! We have to agree with Shia LaBeouf on this one. Looking back at our own experiences, we've noticed that the anxiety decreases when you just do it more frequently.

    When to call and when to e-mail or WhatsApp

    Another good way to stay in control of your call anxiety is knowing when it's better to call, and when it's easier to use e-mail or WhatsApp. We've drafted a few scenarios with the recommended communication method. Use them to your advantage!

    3 scenarios in which it's better to call:

    • When you need or want to know something ASAP
    • Where you need to convey your emotions clearly
    • When you need to ask multiple questions

    3 scenarios in which we recommend you to use e-mail or WhatsApp:

    • When your question is not urgent
    • To confirm an appointment
    • When requesting data or exact information


    Stick to these scenarios to get used to the idea of making phone calls and overcoming your call anxiety.

    So, what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and make yourself heard!

    Still not a caller?

    There are other options to consider if you really are not comfortable picking up the phone. WhatsApp Business is a professional communication tool that you can use just like regular WhatsApp. Additionally, Telegram also has options for business use.

    Start with those, and in the meantime, work on your calling skills behind the scenes!