OK.. this post is either going to get lots of rave reviews, or tons of hate comments.
I am on Facebook Messenger, What’s App, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and of course, email and text (if you have my phone number).
I also use a smart phone for… yes, making phone calls.
Either through being introduced via another person, via LinkedIn, or at an event, and you want to connect or do a follow up afterwards, here’s some simple tips in being more effective in communicating and getting the outcome you want:
1. Ask the person how they prefer to be contacted. As a PR person, this is really important when you are dealing with journalists.
I know it’s old school, but I really prefer email.
It’s how I manage my life, respond and get stuff done.
That’s me. It may not be you.
Some people prefer other methods. That’s fine, but if you send your correspondence another way, I may not pay attention to it until later.
2. If you are sending a text, and I don’t know who you are, please identify yourself and the purpose of your outreach.
Something like: “Hi Alan, this is Shai. I am with ABC.com. We’re the startup that is doing XYZ and I would like to schedule a meeting with you to gain your insights about ABCD.”
As a rule, I will respond, proposing to take this to email, and schedule a meeting when it works for both of us.
3. When making a phone call.. please identify yourself beyond your first name and the purpose of your call.
I can’t tell you how many calls I get that go something like this:
Caller: “HI Alan, it’s Jacob….”
Me: “Uh… hi Jacob… I don’t know who you are. Can you please elaborate?”
Caller: “Sure, it’s Jacob from the meetup last week in Tel Aviv. You know, we met and chatted about my startup for a few minutes…”
Me: “Hi Jacob, can you please refresh my memory? I go to lots of meetups. Which company are you with?
4. If I ask you to follow up and articulate in an email what it is you are looking for, be sure to follow up.
This is really a filtering mechanism.
I am happy to meet startups and love the spirit of entrepreneurs.
If there is an “ask” involved, I am happy to help you, but don’t expect me to remember what you want me to do for you.
And please don’t see “we are looking for ways to cooperate with you….” This does not mean anything.
Put it in writing.
Put in writing – in a brief and articulate manner.
Many times I never hear back. Like I said… it’s a filtering message.
5. Before you reach out, do your research on who you are meeting with.
I can help you with the Rackspace Startups Program. I can help advise you on PR and strategic communications when you are a Rackspace customer. But I cannot – and repeat cannot….
A. Give legal advise.
B. Find you investors.
C. Become a full time volunteer mentor.
D. Get you a strategic partner in America.
E. Teach you about growth hacking.
F. Help you develop your user acquisition strategy.
6. Make it easy for the person you are seeking help from to be helpful to you.
I really believe that we are, by nature, helpful creature. We want to help, share and pay-it-forward.
But if you make it hard for someone to help you, then you don’t get what you need, and you are not helping the person who is trying to help you be helpful to you.
7. Think of the receiving end: translation – allow for not getting an immediate response.
The receiving end is the person at the other end of the communications stream you are reach out to.
Allow for the fact that they may be busy, or that your priority and schedule may not be aligned with yours.
8. Get Charlie. And study for your meeting in advance of the meeting.
Use this link to get Charlie – which links to your Google Calendar and sends one-pagers on the people you’re about to meet with, before you see them.
An hour before every meeting in your calendar, Charlie makes sure you walk in with the intel you need to make a killer impression: breaking news on their company, the passions and hobbies you both had no clue you shared, their professional history, and much more.
Make it easy.
Use all the tools you can.
But at the end of the day, don’t forget, you are dealing with humans…