By Steve Moran

A few days ago I got this message from someone through LinkedIn, and I get similar messages every few months. This particular one is from someone who is a first level connection and someone who seems to have some connection to senior living.

Hi Steve

Would like to have a conversation with you when you have a few moments. Please feel free to call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.  


I love meeting and talking to new people, but because there are scammers, con artists, and salespeople who will do anything to get that first meeting, I want to have some idea of what their agenda is, when it is someone I don’t know.

Understanding this will also help me know if I should call now or later.

I responded with this:

What are we talking about?

This person’s response:

I would simply like to know more about what you are doing.

It’s a horrible way to start a conversation. Here is why:

  1. To not explain who you are or what you want right off the bat is disrespectful.
  2. It feels like there is a hidden agenda.
  3. It feels like a really bad sales pitch, or even worse, a scam.
  4. The only people who are likely to respond are people who don’t have packed schedules, and they are much less likely to be the people you really want to be connecting with, developing a relationship with.


The right way would be something like this:

Hi, Steve,

I would love to chat with you by phone when it works in your schedule. I am a (here you fill in the blank about who you are and what you do, which now gives context). I just want to (fill in why you want to connect or what you want to talk about or what you are curious about, with reasonable specificity).

In the Quest of Truth

In the quest of truth I went ahead and called. It turns out that it was actually a legitimate request, and I will end up having a conversation. So I guess you could argue that it worked, but I suspect it costs this person many opportunities — and worse, it starts the conversation on the wrong foot.