Here is another practical tip (after my last post which covered todos): Something I learned the hard way being on both sides of the equation — How to meet with busy people.
This is how it plays out: Someone sends me a nice email telling me that they are in the area; that they like what I am doing; would love to learn more and ask if I have time for coffee sometime soon (often suggesting some specific dates).
So far so good…
Sadly (or luckily) I do have a lot to do. My calendar is typically pretty full — and the spots which are not taken, I fiercely protect to make sure I have enough time during the day to get my todos done (see also my last post). And even if I would find some time (theoretically), I keep that slot open, to give me a chance to meet with someone I would love to meet.
In consequence, that means that I have to say no to coffee meetings… :(
Here’s the hack (and I have used this many times now as the person who requests a meeting — with great success): Most of us need to eat something during the day. Instead of suggesting coffee — which is time out of my calendar I would rather spend on something productive/work-related — ask for lunch. And not just “hey — can I buy you lunch” but more specifically:
“Hey — how about I buy you lunch? Tell me what you like and I will get lunch for us, come to your office and we can sit down for 30 minutes over food and talk. You don’t need to do anything; it will only take 30 minutes, and I will come to your office.”
That way you solve a problem for me (I need to eat something), you make the experience easy for me (you are not asking me to come to a restaurant, which easily takes me an hour, requires me to get into my car, find a parking spot, etc.), you keep it short (busy people typically can’t do hour-long lunches) and convenient (all I need to do is show up)… Win-Win.
As said: I tried this dozen of times with folks I want to meet (and who are even busier than I am) and it worked pretty much every single time!
Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.