Last week I left about 10-12 calls unanswered on my phone, and I never called back. If by misfortune this was you, you probably got an email back from me instead and I apologize for not taking your call.
I don’t want to be rude, in fact I usually fall into the category of trying to please everyone, and that’s a big no no. But I’m working hard on it, learning from Dan Martell on his post How to say no:
In the past, I used to get anxious with processing these kinds of requests. I wanted to say yes to everyone because I felt so honoured that they had reached out, but it really started to impact my work. That’s when I decided I needed to respect myself and the other person, by being quick to respond and saying no – if it wasn’t a fit.
As a company grows and you dive into new projects you find yourself with little to no time to get actual work done, and you need to start cutting out the non-essentials. This includes an unscheduled 30min call about how to optimize your mobile UX.
Now, I don’t want to come off as Mr. Important here, in fact I encourage you to take control of your time as well, does amazing things for your productivity.
Here’s why I think sending me an email is better than calling me on the phone:
Because I will probably forget
Theres a 100% chance I was doing something else when you reached out to me. An unscheduled call gives me no time to be ready, no time to grab my notebook or open my task list. This means, by the time the call is over I had zero ways to write down actionable items or notes to follow up.
Because I’m busy doing something important
We all fight for more time in our day, I’m no exception. If you just straight up called me, I was probably doing one of three things: working on growing my agency, learning/studying on how to improve myself or spending time with my family.
Because you won’t have my focus
I like to prepare for calls and meetings, learn more about you and what value I can bring to you in any way possible. Very hard to do if out of the blue you gave me no prep time.
Because there is no follow up
Every call & meeting should have as an outcome actionable items and a scheduled follow up. I have terrible memory and if there is no pen or computer at hand, there are zero ways for me to come up with actionable items. How do you follow up on a long phone conversation? So much is left literally in the air.
Because you will delegate something that provides no value to me
This is a big one, most of the time people call you, they want something from you and it probably comes in the form of a big to-do. Not like people do it on purpose, but there is a tendency for all of us to just slide something off our plate and onto someone else’s. I’m thrilled to help you out, but I won’t accept you giving me more tasks than I need to have.
For example, don’t send me an email asking me to review your 20-screen app’s UX. Ask me a specific, on point question. Be considerate of everyone’s time.
Both the 5-pager email and the 45 min phone call are unnecessary.
Ways to successfully engage with anyone
First of all be considerate. Shoot a short email asking for something specific and actionable. Even a text works. If you absolutely need a call, ask for a few mins a time slots. I use Calendly, works wonders.
Learn to say no, learn to be more productive with shorter communications. Almost on a daily basis I engage with my 30+ person team plus multiple clients, hence why I struggle to make communication short and effective to take back my time and work on what really moves the needle.