By Alan Graner
The following is from Successful Cold Call Selling by Lee Boyan (1983).
In Part 1 we talked about overcoming fear. In Part 2 we’ll explore how to dissolve fear.
A sure-fire method for dissolving fear
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Viktor Frankl talks about paradoxical intention.
There is a psychological principle that states the harder you try not to think about something, the more difficult it is to forget it. More specifically, the harder you try not to think about fear, the more it comes unbidden to mind.
With paradoxical intention, you embrace the fear, turn it into a ridiculous affair and allow the normal human appreciation of the absurd to turn it off completely.
In therapy, paradoxical intention instructs you to conjure up your worst fears rather than avoid them. Embrace them. Magnify them. Make them so absurd that your minds rebels at the ridiculousness of the images being created.
Harvard psychologist Gordon Allport stated that any person who can devise a way to laugh at his problems is well on his way to solving them. Once ridiculed thoroughly, fear loses its power to tie your mind in a helpless knot.
Why does paradoxical intention work?
The human mind can’t maintain two thoughts at the same time. Therefore, it can’t contain both your fear and the ridiculous image the paradoxical statement creates in your consciousness.
Ask yourself: what is your objective? To avoid failure? Or to achieve something significant?
Try it yourself.
Think about your fear of cold calling. Exaggerate it. Make it inflate like a blimp. Transform it into a sitcom. Make your fear the butt of a Saturday Night Live skit. A standup comedy routine. A movie starring the Marx Brothers.
Once you visualize how ridiculous your fear is, once you laugh at it, pick up the phone and make that cold call.
You might even enjoy it.
What techniques do you use to overcome the fear of cold calling?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA based marketing communications firm. To discover how PR can effectively help warm up cold calls, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.