Everyone likes to be thought of, to be recognized, and to be remembered. When’s the best time to show some appreciation for those people you care about? Holidays, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, are fine, but eminently forgettable. Everyone calls or sends cards on those holidays. Nobody will remember if you called or wrote when they got 815 other cards and phone calls.
Birthdays are best. As people get older, there is this sense that birthdays aren’t as important, or that people don’t want to be reminded of their age. To the first point, birthdays aren’t as important: getting a license at 16 or shitfaced at 21 was a big deal. Getting more pronounced crows feet at 37 isn’t. But, people still like to be thought of and appreciated. And, best of all, because everyone else forgets about birthdays, or is a few days late, your call will definitely be remembered. I love this idea from Keith Ferrazzi:
Generally, I like to make birthday calls in the early morning. This way I get someone’s voice mail, and when they come in to work that morning, they’re greeted with my rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
No greetings. No Niceties. I just let it rip.
I’ve done this a couple times now, and it really works. Everyone loves to be thought of on their birthday, and getting a horribly sung birthday song is a nice, subtle, way to show that you care enough about the person to make an ass out of yourself.
Here’s the problem though: a lot of folks don’t have dedicated business phones anymore, or their phones are forwarded to their cell phones. A lot of people leave their cell phones on all night. I don’t want to wake some poor, hung-over, post-celebration friend at 5:30 in the morning just so I can scream a horrible rendition of Happy Birthday at him. I want to be able to dial a number so it goes straight to voicemail.
Update: Apparently slydial.com is an app that will do this. Cool!