If you’re in business of any kind then undoubtedly you will have had the “can we hop on a call” email at some point.
It can come in the form of a well meaning friend making an introduction to you on behalf of someone else or it can come straight out of the blue from a stranger. The email will go something like this….
“Hey Kieron, great to meet you! I’ve heard a lot about you/your business and thought it would be great to get in touch. Can we hop on a call sometime? How does next Wednesday at 11am sound or 2 weeks on Thursday at 2pm? Look forward to chatting!”
Or worse still are those absolute serial killers who send you an invite to access their calendar via Calendly or similar and ask you to schedule a “free slot”. Right. OK.
And that’s it, no context, no explanation as to why they want to talk, no clue as to their business. I guess the expectation is that all will be revealed when I do indeed “hop on the call”.
So in the spirit of politeness (we are British after all) after all you accept the invitation and then the time comes for “the call”. They usually follow the same format, the caller starts with the spiel about their company/business, their history, how they got started, their motivation, their successes etc etc. Then you get the dreaded “So that’s me, I’d love to hear about you and how you got started”. Sigh. So you go into your “story” tell the other person how you got to the place where you are now, etc. etc. yadayadayada. You maybe talk about mutual business acquaintances, people you know in the industry/and/or the state of the industry and perhaps, and only perhaps the person who set the meeting actually tells you what they want. 9 times out of 10 they want something from you, a collaboration, partnership, they want you to buy their product or services etc. But it takes all of this faffing around to get to the “ask”. Most times also, you find out that there isn’t a fit and you end the call with a vague “OK let’s keep in touch” and there goes half an hour of your life you will never get back.
So how about a much better way….
In your first email give a brief intro to who you are and what you do. Outline your “ask”, your service, your idea or whatever. Put it in the email. It’s so easy, that way you can decide straight away if there is opportunity. If there is then maybe you will chat at some point. Maybe you won’t. But either way you can decide right away without all of the hassle of waiting around and spending half an hour of talking nonsense on the phone.
There you go, productivity life hack and blue sky thinking from Kieron right there. If everybody adopts this practice just think of the wasted hours we could all save.
And before anyone mentions it, not all phone calls are pointless. If you want to discuss something important with a colleague then they are great and I like a good chat with friends/colleagues from time to time. But for that initial first contact from strangers, the reason email was invented was so that we don’t want to “hop on a call.”