Can We Meet for Coffee?

September 22, 2021

Unsolicited requests for your time can be turned into valuable opportunities. How can you make these requests productive?“Do you have time for a coffee next week?”


“I’d appreciate your advice on my career path.”“I’d like to show you what our company can do for you.”Sound familiar? If you’re doing good work, you are probably bombarded with these requests.They come from former colleagues, salespeople, job seekers and friends of friends.In the beginning, I was flattered. I agreed to have coffee, learn more and help out. But time started slipping away. Soon I was scheduling calls instead of meeting for coffee. Then I started scheduling shorter calls, eventually declining politely. Then, I started ignoring the messages, thinking, “Time is my most valuable asset. Work on the most important stuff.” Yet, I enjoy helping others and learning, so I tried something different.For one month, I responded to every inquiry with enthusiasm. All I asked is that before we spoke they help me out with one of my own priorities in a small way. The request would filter out those who weren’t seriously looking for my help or business, and maybe return a little benefit. It was an experiment.You might be thinking, what kind of assistance could a stranger provide? I asked people to visit our website and register. I also asked for feedback, a referral, or maybe an introduction to a LinkedIn connection or someone in another part of their firm. Turns out, people were more than happy to engage on my counter-requests. Each requester was looking to take value from me, and so when asked to do something, they felt it fair to share value with me.There were unexpected benefits too. Conversations were more valuable when we did connect, because they had taken the time to provide feedback or sign-up on our website. I am also building a reputation as being responsive and helpful, which may earn powerful word-of-mouth benefits. And for those job seekers or salespeople that couldn’t be bothered to take a small action on their part, it acted as a wonderful filter, saving me time and energy.It was a simple and reliable stream of quick wins. So think of your top priority, and ask for help as the currency exchanged for your time and expertise. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no! (See last posting about The Rejection Game? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, ask for what you want.)When you frame an inquiry as an opportunity, a request to grab coffee doesn’t seem so bad at all.Adapted from Jason Goldlist, Chief Marketing Officer at Wealthsimple.Words of Wisdom“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” Maya Angelou Speaking, Events and TravelSept. 1, Collaborating for Outstanding Outcomes, California Human Resources Conference, Anaheim, CA (at Conference Aug 31- Sept. 2)Sept. 3, Job Benchmarking, Healthcare Business DevelopmentSept. 9, Co-presenting AMPLIFY Your Core Coaching Competencies:Using the Art of Improv to Dance in the Moment with Your Clients, ICF Phoenix ChapterSept. 11 Presentations Skills, Healthcare Executives, PhoenixSept. 19-25 American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) Conference, Orlando, FLWe are always grateful for ongoing work with our treasured clients and for referrals! They are one of the highest compliments you can provide.

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