My phone rang at 8:00 a.m. this morning. That’s not a typical time for my phone to ring, so I expected it to be a spam call – or bad news. Instead, it was someone with whom I hadn’t spoken in about a year. My instincts and curiosity drove me to take the call, not wanting to miss the reason why they were calling.
Why would I take an unexpected 8am call? And why do I encourage everyone to?
Perché no, as my Italian clients like to say. Why not? What do we have to lose, or put another way, what will we gain? Often, those unexpected calls arrive just when we need them, whether it’s reconnecting with a friend, a new business venture, or an opportunity to help someone. Picking up the phone is one of the easiest ways to connect with others.
Changed perspective. Often, we hang up the phone smiling after speaking with someone unexpected, because it changes the expectations we had for our day. More than an exchange of information, phone calls are our connection to the world. The person with whom I was speaking was sharing his dream. Later in the day I came across this quote from Paulo Coelho, “it’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” Picking up the phone allows us to give credence to someone’s dream and vocalize our own.
It’s good practice. Conversation is an art form. It takes regular practice to improve our communication skills. Every time we take the call, we get to practice the art of conversation. We learn to listen better, express ourselves, and get into the flow of a great conversation. How conversations flow is always a surprise and delight.
We learn something. Of course, I learned why he was calling, what has changed in his life, what his current ambitions are, what’s important to him. And in the telling of his story, I learned a lot about him as a person, the state of politics where he lives, the education system, and what it’s like looking for a new job in a pandemic.
The delight of the unexpected. At one point in the conversation, we were talking about new hobbies. I mentioned gardening and how attached I am to my plants. I speak to them every morning as I open the blinds and let in the natural light. From that reveal he was comfortable telling me about his son who has gone from an average to advanced reader by reading to his plants. Several children will now be receiving plants from me, including my Italian client’s daughter, who calls me zia (Italian for aunt).
There are always times when taking a call is in bad form – during a meeting, in a restaurant and when we’re with people – but in those serendipitous moments when the time is right, take the call. Perché no?