The Sound of Opportunity

August 11, 2013
Mary Jane Copps


“Stay open to opportunity — you never know where your next important connection will be made.”  Nicholas Boothman  

The telephone makes an appearance in two books I’m currently reading.

In Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, there’s a reference to President Rutherford Hayes and his reaction upon first seeing a telephone. He’s quoted as saying: “An amazing invention, but who would every want to use one?”

Strangely enough, this reaction is alive and well today as more and more people, in both their professional and personal lives, stop using the telephone to communicate with each other.

The reason is simple and stated very clearly in Rework, a well-written, no-nonsense book of business advice from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier, the founders of 37 Signals.

Productivity demands periods of alone time and the book advocates letting go of “communication addiction. During alone time, give up instant messages, phone calls, e-mail and meetings. Just shut up and get to work.” This is sound advice.

The authors then go on to say: “Also, when you do collaborate, try to use passive communication tools, like e-mail, that don’t require an instant reply, instead of interruptive ones, like phone calls and face-to-face meetings.”

While I agree, and have often stated, that phone calls are an interruption, they are also essential for strong collaboration and are – without a doubt – harbingers of opportunity.

Consider this – it is possible that if you have, for the most part, stopped answering your phone, you are missing out on valuable opportunities:

I’ve had the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs that want to establish themselves in new markets. We identify potential clients and I make the necessary calls to set up meetings. Each of my calls is, absolutely, an interruption but …each of my calls is well researched (and I know the same can be said for the majority of marketing and sales people).

When I place a call, I have already identified a “fit”. I know there’s something in it for you to listen to me and consider my proposal. In other words, I’m calling you with an opportunity. When you don’t answer the phone, you miss out.

For most of the entrepreneurs I’ve worked with, my phone calls have resulted in new business. Why? Because the people who answered their phone heard the fit, the opportunity and they embraced it.

I’m not saying that it isn’t important to give yourself uninterrupted focus time. I am saying that, next time your phone rings and you are able to answer it, recognize that it could be opportunity calling!

For the next 8 days I’ll be visiting friends and family – and working – in Ontario. The two workshops I’ll be delivering there both happened because … I answered my phone!

What about you? What opportunities have first arrived in your life with a phone call?


Interested in Learning More from The Phone Lady? Here’s some options:

Thursday August 29 – Halifax – Grow Your Business 

10 am until noon

This monthly prospecting practice, in conjunction with The Hub Halifax – 1673 Barrington Street, brings together like-minded entrepreneurs who want to perfect their telephone skills. To register click here  Call me at 902-404-3290 or email me for more details.

October 16, 23 and 30 – Halifax – PhoneWork: The Art (and Science) of Effective Telephone Communication

At NSCC, Institute of Technology Campus, 6 to 9 pm Wednesday evenings

From telephone interviews to conference calls, from customer service to market research, from booking appointments to closing sales, the telephone is an essential business tool. Using it effectively requires specific listening, interviewing and speaking skills. Regardless if you are a business owner, an employee, or someone looking for a new job, this course provides you with everything you need to banish phone fear and become phone fabulous!

All the information, including registration, is here:

Wednesday October 2 – Halifax – Exceed Your Quota: Get More Appointments; Close More Sales! 

Presented in conjunction with Peter Skakum, Tangent Strategies , this workshop focuses on the skills you need to pick up the phone and book appointments as well as how to create meetings that result in new customers. Full details, pdf descriptions, testimonials and registration can all be found here: Register early for a $100 saving.



  1. Steve Foran says:

    Very true. My business is proof that picking up the phone works. Whether it’s been me doing it for me or you doing it for me, it has resulted in business.

    You just happen to have brought a much more objective approach to my phone work.

    Thank you.


    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks, Steve. The phone is such a vital tool for all of us, small and big companies alike. We should definitely be more grateful for the ease with which it allows us to really communicate!

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