One of the first things I had to do when I started working was making cold calls. That and letter writing, in Japanese. That was really difficult, since I had never written a formal letter in that language before.
When I got to BT, I had to do more cold calls, mostly to analysts, merchant bankers and stockbrokers. It was scary at first. Imagine a rookie reporter with little clue on the story she was supposed to write and having to call all those busy people but don’t exactly know what to ask. Then when they actually talked to me (after almost exhausting the names on my list), I don’t quite understand what the jargons they were throwing at me. Had to consult various dictionaries and occasionally, the Bloomberg machine.
I was lucky my seniors were helpful and gave me a good list to start with, and I built my own network of contacts later. Still, when everyone’s engaged or not in the office and the boss is screaming your name, you’d wish you’re miles away from the newsroom.
Things got better after a while, the people I usually call would by then recognise my name. Stuff like “psychological barrier” or “occidental banking” became terms I gradually understood instead of going “huh?” every time I was hit by one.
I never thought the act of picking up the phone and call a stranger can be good but it is, because it actually helped me build up my ability to communicate. I learned the proper way to begin a call and, having some experience in the services industry, always say thank you at the end. Cold calls also helped me approaching people. Just a bit. Heh.
I don’t do much of cold calling nowadays but I still get a bit flustered when I have to. It’s like I know what I have to do and say but the words get jumbled up sometimes. I hate when that happens.
On the other hand, I don’t like receiving such calls, especially from hotels and resorts saying they want to invite me and “my husband” to this dinner talk or that lunch event. I try not to be rude but sometimes the nasty bit got out. Sorry.
One hotel, a certain “palace” in Sri Kembangan, had been calling me at least once a month since the end of last year. In March, I had requested that my name be taken off their calling list. But then came the call in May. I almost felt sorry for the guy who made the call. Almost but not quite. I repeated my request and asked for his superior’s name. It was Japanese, if I’m not mistaken. They haven’t contacted me since so I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with the lady. Hopefully never.