Apologies for my absence last week. I sat down early last Sunday morning and went to an author’s website – someone I was going to share with you – but within seconds my laptop was consumed by trojans and other assorted malware. (And my Twitter account was hacked too!) While I remained hopeful for most of the day, it never recovered; it had to be taken to Brilliance Computers for surgery. They told me that 80% of their work is now clearing computers of viruses, etc; that none of the software we use to prevent such infections is keeping up with what is being created. “All you have to do to get infected today is be on the internet,” I was told.
“Sigh” is my response, but I’m ever so grateful to have my laptop back with no loss of files – and to be able to connect with you again.
I’ve got several “stories” bumping around in my head. I’ll start with the most recent.
I’m working on a project that involves setting up appointments with retailers in Ottawa and in Toronto. Organizing the appointments in Ottawa was relatively simple. While there was a fair bit of dialing and message leaving, once I reached the right person it was very straightforward to book a meeting.
Toronto presents a completely different challenge!
It is a city that thrives on competition. As a result, everyone I want to talk to has invested time and money in publicity, so finding the names of store owners has been incredibly simple and fast. But … everyone wants product placement there. These owners are getting approached several times each day, so they don’t book appointments in one call. They need a portfolio and plenty of follow up.
My usual charm and wit, my background of living in Toronto for 20 years, the cache that often results from my saying I’m calling from Atlantic Canada – none of this has worked to speed up, warm up or simplify the process. And I have a deadline to meet which is approaching quickly!
By Friday at 3 pm my hectic week had caught up with me. I was tired, frustrated and suddenly very attracted to the mound of paperwork on my desk. “Just stop for the day”, a little voice in my head kept saying. “It’s Friday afternoon. You can deal with this next week.”
But another voice said “Look at the calendar will you. The deadline is not far away. In Toronto it is only 2 pm and Fridays are almost the beginning of the week in retail. Pick up the phone!”
This argument continued for about 10 minutes. It was so incredibly tempting to stop calling but … I finally wrestled my lethargy aside with the phrase “Make one more call and see what happens.”
I picked up the phone, I dialed and for the first time since starting the Toronto project a retailer booked an appointment immediately!
Important note to self: Making one more call is always a good decision, no matter what the voices in your head are telling you.
In keeping with this theme, there are more and more voices championing the value of picking up the phone. Of course I’m delighted. CBS MoneyWatch recently published an article by entrepreneur Michael Hess that delivers this message in a precise and insightful way. I encourage you to read it: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505143_162-57399601/when-you-should-pick-up-the-phone-and-why/
This week I want to challenge you to - just once – pick up the phone when you would normally email or text. Rather than go back and forth about a meeting date and time, phone and confirm; rather than email your response to a voicemail message, call the person back; take the time to phone a friend or family member and enjoy a conversation in real time.
And let me know what happens. Does something surprising happen because of this phone call? Does it inspire you to pick up the phone more often? Or do you avoid the call altogether? I look forward to hearing from you.
Enjoy your PhoneWork!