I phoned the CFO today. He is involved in a street-kids program, as am I (loosely, but it’s a hook …).
The receptionist said he’s not in, would I like to leave a message; I said no, but thanks. We hadn’t spoken and I didn’t want to suck him into a game of voice-mail tag.
I asked if I might speak to his Executive Assistant. He is, after all, the CFO.
“That’s me!” chirped my new-found friend, buddy and ally, The Gatekeeper.
I’m fast on my feet.
“Oh, that’s great, I’m so glad”.
You see, I really don’t want to waste his time having him call me back, but perhaps you could let him know I read the press releases and found a reference to the street-kids program. Perhaps if I call back tomorrow he might be in?
Yes, he might.
1: I didn’t speak to him directly, as I had hoped.
2: I have primed Ms Helpful who will remember me when I call tomorrow.
3: I have acknowledged the utility of her position; both she and I serve to reduce time conflicts in the busy CFO’s life
4: When I call tomorrow I have made a small step, and with a bit of luck she will present my message as a friend, not as an unknown caller.
So I am violating my only-talk-directly tactic, but in this case it seems as if there is only one small step between me and the CFO, and it looks like an easy step, so it’s worthwhile the trip with/around/through The Gatekeeper.