It was hideous. I still want to curl up into a ball of shame under my desk when I think about it.

That vile email I sent to someone I hadn't been in touch with for ages.

Out of the blue, they got a message from me. I'll paraphrase.

"Hi, you haven't heard from me in years. I have a new company now. Can we talk about how you can buy my services?"

It makes me want to vomit.

By the way, this utterly forgiving and generous human being emailed straight back to set up a chat to hear what I was up to now. That doesn't make it right, though.

So, how can you make cold calling less disgusting? Both for you and for the person you want to connect with?

The answer is simple. It's actually so simple, you'll be angry with me that you wasted time reading this far.

Here it is:

Do Something For Them First

As a creative, I'm in a privileged position. I can create a piece of work for a company I'd like to speak with and send it to them. A short stop-motion animation, a graphic, a cartoon... something they could use in their social media channels, for instance. Imagine receiving something like that out of the blue, with a message.

"Hi [Super-Company-I-Would-Love-To-Work-With], I really enjoy your products/services. So much so, you inspired me to create this short video for you. A gift. No strings attached. If it's useful to you in any way, please use it as you see fit. It's yours. Please don't even credit me.

"If there were ever a chance to talk with you about what I/we do, that would be wonderful. But there's no obligation or expectation.

"Best regards,

Roger ("

Wouldn't that be a nicer experience for everyone?

Yes, you have to weigh the time costs against the benefits, and against the chances of success. I understand that. But ask yourself this: What effort are you prepared to put in to have a chance at a meaningful conversation with someone you'd give your eyeteeth to work for?

Something to think about?

If you're not a creative, find out what you could do and lots more about cold calling in this episode of Business Jazz: