A few months ago, I met a guy at an event. You’d recognize a guy like him, slick-hair in a suit, busy shaking hands and handing out business cards.
He introduced himself to me and handed me his business card “Well, how about grabbing some coffee together?”
As soon as I looked at his business card printed with “Insurance Agent”, an alarm went off.
I didn’t want to “meet for coffee” but I didn’t want to be rude either. So I said “Maybe.”
The next thing I knew, he pulled out the calendar on his phone and asked me “How about Wednesday 5:30 PM at Starbucks?”
“I don’t know for sure. Please send me a calendar invite and I’d appreciate you email me a day before to confirm the meeting. Anyway, nice to meet you. ”
The reason why I said that was because:
#1 He is young (like just out of college) and eager. I might actually meet him. But I didn’t want to be pushed into a meeting on spot.
#2 Most people would self-select if you set up a small barrier, it can be as simple as sending a calendar invite or emailing again to confirm a meeting.
Sure enough, he never sent me a calendar invite nor emailed again to confirm a meeting.
This is an example of what exactly NOT to do if you try to meet someone.
From my own experience, it’s true that people actually want to help you if you make things easy for them.
That’s how I got advice from people like VP of Intuit (You’d see his name on news from time to time) - I cold emailed him when I just graduated from college looking for career advice. And lots of amazing people who didn’t know me but shared their career advice with me.
A few things to avoid when you want to meet new people - especially people who’re busier than you:
#1. Don’t waste their time
Do your research on the person you want to meet. When you ask questions, be specific.
Bad: “I want your advice on ABC…”
Good: “It seems that there are three ways to approach ABC, here’s my situation and here’s what I plan to do. What do you think?”
#2. Don’t drop dead after you meet
...Unless you really are dead.
It’s common courtesy that you thank them for their time - a simple thank-you would do.
If you followed their advice, share it with them on what you did and what results you got. Trust me, people WANT to know.