The “Agenda Free” Call

Why do you need a reason to go and see someone?   You don’t.  It’s no secret that relationships are the currency of long term success in any endeavor.  I am not the first and certainly won’t be the last to say those words.  That currency like any monetary currency is subject to fluctuation and ups and downs.  Like world currencies, there are things that can be done to mitigate the fluctuations and hence stabilize and actually grow value and long term health.

Far too often we think we need a reason to go and see someone or make a call and say “hello”.  You don’t.  Try practicing the principle of the agenda free call or in other words, make sure that you are being proactive about keeping your relationship currency at a high value.  To illustrate let me share a story.

A month ago I was on the phone with a long term client.  This client has hired me to keynote and workshop over successive years and I called him to say hello. No agenda. No ulterior motive.  I like this client and he is fun to talk with.  In the course of the conversation, he mentioned to me that “in all likelihood he would not be hiring me again” as three times in a row is about as much as he felt he could justify.  I totally get that and we talked about it.  It was not personal and in my business that’s the way it goes.  We continued to chat and as I was about to say goodbye he said “I do have an idea though” and he began to describe an idea for a concept that would involve me.  We bounced the idea back and forth and I offered to fly down to see him and spend a day white boarding.  We set a date and I went and we had a great meeting.  We now have a framework for a series of events that will allow us to work together and have fun!  All because I picked up the phone to say hello and without any agenda.  Agenda free – just checking in and having a conversation.

In my travels, I work with people from all backgrounds who have to sell themselves every day.  Sales people, people looking for a job and so forth.  One common theme I hear is “I have no reason to call” or ” I don’t know what else to say”.  This attitude leads to a stagnation of the relationship and a loss of them keeping you top of mind. Stop thinking you need a reason or an agenda.  If you like someone and want to keep the relationship fresh – then reach out. Send an article that they would find of interest or call to make an introduction.  One could argue that there is always an agenda.  Ok – Perhaps and why hide from the opportunity to deepen a relationship?  I make a practice of calling 2-3 people every week that I have not spoken to and just say “hello” No agenda.  Just me knowing that relationships are hard work and they dissipate very easily.

Are their exceptions? Sure there are.  You have to be the judge of what the right thing to do is and the timing in which to do it.  Please don’t let your fears do you in and prevent you from staying top of mind. That being said, if you want to keep your relationships currency at an all-time high start practicing the agenda free call.


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