It’s always exciting when you have your first phonecall with someone you’ve met online. And that’s how is should be: if you’re excited, then it should help you to get to know each other, but it can also cause a few problems from time to time. Here are some tips on how best to handle that important first phone conversation.
So you were none the wiser after the first phone call than you were before? Were you tongue-tied and did you feel that you hadn’t made a very good job of selling yourself? Your first phone conversation with a stranger can be tricky - especially if you are trying to get to know each other in the process. But have faith in yourself. A phone call is an excellent way of testing the water. It may be that someone who doesn’t say much in writing can really come alive once they get on the other end of the line. And if you follow our ten tips, there’s not too much that can go wrong.
What’s the other person going through?
Even if you’re on excellent form, the same doesn’t necessarily apply to the person on the other end of the phone. He or she might have just had an unexpected (and unwelcome) visit, or burnt the dinner. If you ask at the beginning of the conversation whether it’s a good moment, don’t be too disappointed if the other person is tied up.
A little excitement is a good thing
As we said earlier, it’s OK to be a bit nervous. “It’s perfectly normal to be a little excited in this kind of situation and in general it has a positive effect. It can make a good starting point to say that you’re excited, and it can provide a topic for conversation,” says Parship’s singles adviser, Eric Hegmann. But if you feel it’s getting to be too much of a good thing, take a few deep breaths and bear in mind that the other person is probably feeling just the same.
A little preparation can do wonders for your nerves. Make some notes ahead of time. What do you want to find out about the other person? What do you want to say about yourself? It can help to play through scenarios ahead of time. How will you react if the other person doesn’t seem too keen? How do you end the conversation if you feel the other person isn’t for you? By thinking about these things ahead of time, you will be able to respond to situations with more aplomb.
What are we talking about?
If you’re not sure what to talk about, just pick up on a theme … your last holiday, the weather (!), something that was on the TV yesterday. Any of these really can prove a fruitful topic of conversation and you can have fun leading into the next subject quite spontaneously. Smalltalk really is a good way of getting to know each other.
Good policeman or bad policeman?
You might wonder why, when you’ve prepared your list of questions, you should even consider talking about the weather, but it’s worth thinking about how you get to know someone in the normal course of things. Do you work through a set of questions and subject them to some kind of an interrogation? Not really. Even if you talk about last week’s shopping list you’ll learn something about each other. On the phone, simply the sound of the other person’s voice plays an important part in how you establish a rapport. Just let the conversation take its course and listen. Pay attention to the other person’s voice and follow your instincts.
Of course it won’t all just be chitchat. You already know something about each other, thanks to your Parship profiles and the emails you’ve exchanged. You both find yourself in a rather special situation and you both have certain expectations. To keep the conversation moving you should ask some open questions - in other words, questions which can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You should also avoid leading questions, where you basically provide the answer yourself!
You’re not pushing insurance policies or double glazing over the phone, but you need to sell yourself - and it’s surprisingly easy to do. Just be yourself … and smile! The other person will be able to hear the smile in your voice. It’s a trick that works for people selling double glazing and it can work for you. Your attitude is also important. If you go in thinking “this is never going to work,” it will come out in the conversation, so think positive and believe it’s all going to work out.
Get a result
You’ve had a terrific conversation and you did so well that you could have sold the proverbial coals to Newcastle. Now it’s a question of taking things to the next stage. If you would like to get to know the other person better, then it’s time to fix a meeting. Of course, it’s easier if the other person suggests it first, but you could always work the suggestion in to your conversation… (“So, you like tigers … We could always visit the zoo together next week”). Or simply make the suggestion when the conversation is coming to an end. The most important thing is not to be afraid. The other person will be happy you asked. And if he or she seems hesitant for any reason, just suggest that he or she should get back to you.
Other points to watch out for
Keep track of your Parship contacts. If you ask a cat-lover how he or she is getting on with the new dachshund, it’s not going to score you many brownie points. You should also consider taking a few precautions before the first phone call: you can ensure that your number doesn’t appear on the display on the other person’s phone and you shouldn’t give too many details about yourself - and that includes your address - until you know some more about the other person you’re talking to.