We all have our unique comfort zones. Some things come easy to certain people, while other things are stressful. As an intern at Allied Integrated Marketing, a main responsibility I have is contacting local businesses to see if they are interested in receiving screening passes to movies we promote. Sometimes the places I contact have email addresses, but more often than not I reach out to them over the phone.
I remember when I was younger I was completely terrified of talking on the phone. Growing up in a generation with the ability to email and later on text, this wasn’t a problem for the most part. I eventually did get comfortable on the phone, but the idea of cold calling places was still cringe-inducing. When I was confronted with this as an intern, I was initially pretty nervous. “What if I say something stupid?” I thought to myself. “What if I have to cough?” “Are they going to be able to tell how nervous I am?”
Eventually, I mentally pepped myself up to the task. I thought of how easy it was to order takeout on the phone when I once found the idea nerve-wracking. Maybe, I thought to myself, I could get used to this too. Still, I took a few precautions, writing out what I planned on saying and having all the info I needed in front of me on my computer. The first few calls I made weren’t great, but I finally got to a store owner who was really enthusiastic and receptive to the offer of free passes. With that encouragement, the rest of the calls I made that day were a lot easier.
By now cold calling is a lot more manageable for me. I know that things usually go smoothly if I prepare and if someone declines the offer it isn’t the end of the world. Oddly enough, cold calling also made it a lot easier for me to approach people at networking events. Talking to somebody who expects questions from you, even in-person, is a lot simpler than contacting somebody with something they aren’t expecting. Ultimately, I’m glad that I was able to nudge myself outside of my comfort zone, because sometimes it can be really rewarding.