Why I’m Never Interested in a “Brief” Call

Disclaimer:ย While this perspective may be strongly worded or ego-driven to some, that is not my intent. As a remote worker who values my time, I aim to convey my genuine feelings on why unplanned calls are generally not the most effective way for strangers to try to gain my attention. My days are dedicated to working full-time on paid projects. I remain open to worthwhile opportunities presented courteously and considerately. And I’m genuinely interested in replying to emails, not aggressive cold-campaigns.

PS: Feel free to cite this article or share the link with the person who asks you to “hop on a quick call.”

As someone who spends most of their day in front of various screens, the last thing I want to do is have yet another screen interaction, but this time with the added pressure and time commitment of a phone call. When an unsolicited email pops into my inbox from someone I’ve never heard of before asking to “hop on a quick call,” my immediate reaction is dread and hesitation. 

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that what salespeople consider to be a “brief,” “quick,” or “introductory” call very rarely ends up actually being brief, quick, or just an introduction.

More often than not, these supposedly short calls stretch far longer than anticipated, taking a sizable chunk out of my already busy schedule. Unfortunately, my schedule is jam-packed with meaningful work that I’d rather be focusing my time and energy on.

While I’m always happy to consider interesting new opportunities or proposals that are a good fit, cold calls are the worst way to try grabbing my attention or selling me on something. I fully understand the purpose is to close deals and make money, but framing it as a five-minute check-in almost guarantees I’ll be dragged into a 30+ minute sales pitch about why I need whatever product or service is offered. 

As someone running my operations, my time is extremely valuable. And if I’m being fully transparent, taking an unscheduled call with an unknown caller is too much of a risk that I’ll end up wasting potential hours out of my day. I simply can’t afford that to happen if I want to stay on track with my goals and meet my obligations. 

If it was intended to be just a brief introductory call, why not express the value proposition concisely via email first?

That way, I can learn more about what’s being proposed in my own time without disruption. I would be open to scheduling follow-up discussions if that piques my interest. Jumping straight to a call without any prior context is almost guaranteed to annoy rather than impress.

When referencing “hopping on a quick call,” the implication is that it won’t take long out of someone’s day. But the truth is that intention often gets lost as sellers fall into routine pitch patterns, seeking approval and moving things forward.

Before I know it, I’ve been pulled away from my to-do list for half an hour or more. It leaves me feeling misled and resentful for having my time disrespected in that way. 

That annoyance is only compounded by the fact that these interruption calls usually revolve around selling something I have little interest in.

How often have I wasted precious minutes to realize we’re completely misaligned and the offering doesn’t apply to my work or needs? Far too often, if I’m being honest. 

I do not have the bandwidth to field random unsolicited calls off the cuff from companies or individuals I know nothing about. Unless a compelling reason is presented upfront that warrants setting aside focused time, last-minute calls are the best way to ensure I will not be receptive or cooperate. It comes across as a lack of respect for how busy others may be with their priorities and obligations.

Furthermore, if I did sporadically take these calls, it would set a poor precedent that interrupts my daily workflow.

Once someone takes that first meeting, it paves the way for endless follow-ups to demand even more of my precious attention. Before long, my calendar would be completely taken over by calls I never truly wanted or needed in the first place. I’ve learned it’s far better to set clear boundaries and expectations if getting my attention is the goal. 

This doesn’t mean that every marketing outreach is unwelcome or fruitless. I’m always looking for new and interesting opportunities to consider that add value.

But the way to do that is by establishing yourself as someone worth making time for, not expecting others to drop everything on a whim. Suppose a sender can’t be bothered to provide a thoughtful, well-written introduction outlining what’s being proposed upfront first via email. Why should I believe they care about respecting how I spend my day?

Realize that famed investor and business mogul Warren Buffett doesn’t take unscheduled calls from people he’s never met dropping in with random business ideas.

And if the world’s most successful investor requires an endorsement before allocating face time, then surely I, as an independent worker, also deserve that basic level of consideration when someone reaches out, hoping to tap into my brainpower and network. 

So, in summary, while I don’t completely shut the door on taking calls, they are extremely low on my list of preferred methods for unplanned outreach. Before demanding access to my calendar, context must be provided via email so I can evaluate the request on my own accord.

Only if the upfront pitch sparks fascination will I be willing and able to find space to discuss further. But assuming a “brief call” will work is a surefire way to cause annoyance rather than garner interest or opportunities. 

I have no issue with thoughtfully written emails, constructive messages on social media, or considerate direct messages. But jumping straight to imposing on my schedule without establishing qualifications almost always backfires.

If you or your company want my attention, the path that will work best is treating me, my time, and how I spend my day with the utmost respect from the first introduction. I trust this perspective provides some helpful guidance into approaching potential new connections in a considerate, effective manner.

Now, back to my scheduled tasks.

Credit: cover image as seen on walmart.com.

Written by Mighil โ€” Mighil is an indie musician and tinkerer with diverse work experience in technology and writing. He has had the privilege of serving in various capacities, encompassing generalist and specialist roles. He is currently based in Chengdu.


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