I won’t call you. You call me.

July 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

So, a few weeks ago, I tried e-mailing a friend of a friend and who I thought might be able to shed some light on the idea of writing books for other people.  I spent quite a while crafting a message that was professional and nice and didn’t make me sound too much like a doofis. I sent it off and was excited when I saw his response in my inbox only an hour later.

I opened the e-mail and read, I’m on a deadline. Can you contact me again in three weeks?” That was it. What is wrong with this, you might ask. Well, nothing. But here are a few other emails I have received in the past few months. See if you can detect a theme.

I just got a new project and am so busy! Would you send me another email in about 3 weeks?

I won’t get a chance to look at the proposal until after I get back. Can you reconnect with me in early August!

Thanks for checking in!  Sounds like everything is falling into place. Give me a shout in a month or two. 

If you said they all have exclamation points, you are correct but that is not the point. The point is that, since I have started this business, I have had to create a new list for people’s names and their corresponding follow-up dates. Which. I did not have to do before.

It used to be that people would just get back to me. Or at least they would get back to me and say they would get back to me later. And then they would get back to me. Now, they get back to me and tell me to get back to them.

Why?

I don’t know for sure but I can think of three reasons.

1)      They really are busy.

2)      They are stalling and hope I forget to get back to them.

3)      They are testing me to see if I have good follow-up skills.

Whatever the reason, these follow up e-mails are hard to write. What I would like to write is this:

Hello Person,

It has been 3 weeks/a few months/whatever and now I am getting back to you. I still have the same question I did before. Please see below.

But that does not sound professional so instead I need to re-craft the non-doofis e-mail I wrote the first time only this time try to say it in a different way which by default is already a recipe for supreme doofism.

And also, am I supposed to be doing this too? Is this general practice for business people? Do all my business contacts cluck when they see an e-mail from me? “Oh Hadley, when will you learn!!!”

Clearly, I am missing something.

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