If you are under 30 years and wondering why no one is responding to your emails, texts or social media sidebars, you may want to read this.
If you are over 40, please turn over the page and read the next column. This is not for you.
A few Sundays ago, I was chilling out attending Bedtime Baptist when someone slid into my LinkedIn direct messaging.
I don’t typically surf LinkedIn on Sundays as it tends to be very business-centric. But Saint Curiosity was the choirmaster at Bedtime Baptist that morning so something made me click on the notification.
This is the verbatim message I found on the notification from Mwagodi Chacha (not his real name): “Kindly, consider for opportunity when or if available. Regards David.”
I was confused. The notification said Mwagodi Chacha, but the message was signed off by David. He was not in my network, but he was a connection once removed, meaning he was connected to someone in my immediate network.
I typically don’t respond to strangers, but it was a Sunday and Saint “A Communication Intervention Is Needed” was the assistant choirmaster.
David or Mwagodi was asking for some kind of help. But I didn’t know what it was. So against my better judgement, I decided to engage him.
I wrote back and asked him what it is or who was it that I should be considering and also what opportunities was he referring to.
Also, was he David? Why did his profile call him Mwagodi Chacha then? Finally, I advised him that when communicating with a total stranger he needed to be concise and clear in order to be taken seriously. To his credit, he responded fast:
“Okay my apologies. Management Consulting. Am David Mwagodi Chacha. Sorry for bothering you.”
He had taken my advice to heart about being concise. Too concise. I decided to advise David on this platform as there are many like him (again, I remind you that his real name is not being used here before the boy child protection brigade lands on me).
I must also confess that anyone who starts a sentence with “am” instead of the grammatically correct “I am” tends to leave me gasping for air at the nitpicking lights.
David: I take it you’ve sipped from the “Shoot your best shot” cocktail glass. You probably topped it with a “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” rosemary garnish.
But what they didn’t tell you is that you typically have one shot at making an impression. Communicating with a high level of impact is what gets the door opened and lets you into the room.
People you want to notice you, want to know who they are dealing with and why.
“Hello Carol, my name is David Mwagodi Chacha. I am reaching out to you because you are in the same high school as I was” or “because we are in the same industry”, or “because I saw you speak at the Marketing Society of Kenya Christmas Dinner.”
Essentially David, establish the connection as to why I am a draw to you and where our connection lies. Otherwise, I get the sense that you have sent 200 of these messages and hope one of them will land in an interested inbox.
You can then continue thus, “I am a management consultant working at my own firm and I am looking to collaborate with you,” or “I am working at XYZ firm and I am looking for employment opportunities as your firm is an innovative trailblazer in the same industry.”
David, I need context on what it is that you do and where you think I can help you exactly. A little flattery on being a trailblazer also helps to gently stroke a bored ego, but not too much that one can see through BS smoke.
Finally, a sign-off that lets me know what your unique value add is might help me from tossing your message into the garbage can: “Carol, I know that my skill in consumer research using quantitative methods is one that you could use to add value to your consumer goods industry engagements. Could we begin a conversation?”
This would make me know that you have done some credible research on what it is my own firm does. No one wants to be just a number, even someone you are approaching for help.
David keep it short, keep it specific and make me feel unique. Just like you would with a girl you want to ask out for a date. Wishing you the very best.