Let’s start with a bit of humor taken from my role as Jester at my weekly Toastmasters meeting. A joke to give you a visual of context.

In a hurry to get to a special dinner party, the guest speaker arrives and sat down, only to realize he’d forgotten his false teeth.
He explained his dilemma to the man sitting next to him.
The man said, “No problem,” reached into his pocket, and pulled out a set of false teeth. “Try these,” he said.
“Too loose,” the speaker said.
The man pulled out another pair.
“Too tight,” the speaker told him.
“I have one more pair.”
The speaker tried them and they fit perfectly.
With that, he ate his meal and gave his speech. When the dinner was over, he went to thank the man who’d helped him.
“Where’s your office?” he inquired. “I’m looking for a good dentist.”
The man replied: “I’m not a dentist. I’m an undertaker.”

We make assumptions about people based on social media posts, especially where there are minimal words or context provided such as Instagram, and other microblog venues. This also happens in marketing emails. Recently I’ve been bombarded by a podcast host enhancement company that sends seemingly personalized emails about being selected as a top mentor. I may have fallen for the tactic if it were not for a few things.

  1. Our show was not directly mentioned.
  2. They assumed I was the host of the show, not the admin producer
  3. When I asked which episode they liked so much and felt it was was made me a good mentor candidate, they didn’t read my email clearly enough and cited an episode I was not in – truly not listening.

I have received the same generic spam message for each of the shows I manage.

I have requested to be removed from their lists and their response was, “We’re so glad you want to be a Top Mentor.” ? What?

Whoever is sending out from the list they acquired did not take the time to test and make sure the email message context would make sense to the recipient. Assumptions were made and laziness became the chief tactic. They would have stuck the landing more often by investing a bit of time actually checking out the show, knowing who the host is, and choosing an episode to cite as an example. They have lost any hope from me to promote their services and will most likely end up in one of my podcast classes as a “beware of” moment.

The lesson is that if you are trying to solicit, be noticed by, build trust with a person, truly get to know them on social or via email, or even by picking up the phone first. Ask questions before you assume. A bit of research can be enlightening, shorten the time to build trust, and you may learn something you can share with someone else.

A recent episode of The Market Dominance Guys talks about trust ahead of value. Chris Beall, Corey Frank, and Henry Wojdyla drive home that there is no substitution or shortcut for building trust, but it can be done more efficiently. We have 27 seconds to build trust to go to the next step in a relationship. This can be 27 seconds in your initial email to me, as well. Don’t waste the opportunity. Prep more first.