On the perils of the telephone

Our design correspondent Daniel Benneworth-Gray reflects on the various terrors that can come with a phone call to a client

I’m waiting for the phone to ring. This is not a sound I’m particularly eager to hear. It is the sound of anxiety being thrust upon me.

I’ve settled into a routine that functions with and around my adorable collection of neuroses. Some designers thrive upon the constant buzz of the whole ‘human interaction’ fad and would gladly spend all day answering the phone, but I enjoy the solitude of working from home. I control my time and environment and quietness in a fortress of shyness; relying upon the protective moat of my inbox to separate the in-here from the out-there. Design briefs and the ensuing back and forth of feedback benefit from the concise nature of email. It is recorded and precise. I like this. It is tidy.

But sometimes invaders – sorry, clients – breach the defences by having the gall to request a phone call. I mean, it’s fine, they’re paying me for the work, they want to discuss the work, so it’s fine. Fine.