Most of us don’t know how to ask. We WANT people to help and we TRY to sound professional, articulate and worthy of a response. But wanting and trying don’t help when we submarine our chances with a terrible cold call or e-mail.
Next time you anxiously craft that message or pick up the phone, here’s two things NOT to do. These are surefire ways of killing the conversation.
Dear Mr. Doe -
I’ve recently graduated from Acme University, a top ranked liberal arts college in New York. In the midst of a rigorous course of study, I unearthed a passion and desire to connect people, and make the world a better place. This, of course, takes many forms…blah, blah, blah.
“Unearthed”? You don’t work in a coal mine. People are busy and you are not a robot. When you type and talk, be human, be brief, be honest and be real.
Dear Ms. Jones -
How have you been the 5 years since we spoke last? I’ve been thinking about you ,and I hear your new business is booming, congratulations! Funny that we are connecting, because I’d love to see if you might support my charity walk with $50 gift…
Asking for things is awkward. Don’t try to make it easier by making me feel like we’re good friends. We’re not, and THAT IS OK. [You don't need to be best friends to ask for help.] But when you stuff pleasantries in before the ‘ask’, you sound insincere. People can say no, so just ask and save the pleasantries for after. Or bag them altogether if they’re not sincere. This ordering acknowledges that there is no agenda or sugar-coating. Simon Sinek unpacks this topic brilliantly in his talk, Start With Why.
This is bad.
I ramble. I’m liberal with the adjectives. I focus on myself and don’t get clear on what I’m asking for until the 3rd paragraph.
Does this look like your e-mails? Or worse…do you think that e-mail was actually pretty good?
If so, stay tuned next week for some tips on how to successfully connect
QUESTION: What other mistakes are you guilty of? What have you found that works?