As life beings to include the demands of a busy career, partners, children etc., time becomes an increasingly treasured (and limited) resource. Even as someone who enjoys engaging with a range of people, by necessity I am thoughtful about where to focus. Naturally, if someone grants me their time, they leave our meeting feeling confident it was valued and respected.
Given its relative importance and scarcity, when we ask for someone's time, recognizing the significance of this request is critical. Good networkers ask for people's time to connect, for advice and to explore job opportunities. Great networkers manage these interactions and meetings with the utmost care and consideration.
As highlighted in a previous post, it’s often the smallest details that matter most. If you've requested someone’s time and expertise, demonstrate that you're appreciative and respect their time by following the guidelines below.
The onus is on you to:
Meet at a location convenient for them, near their home or office, even if it’s a trek for you.
Meet at a time convenient for them.Suggest a breakfast meeting, particularly for C-Suite leaders who are typically in back-to-back meetings after 9am.
Be early or on time. The importance of being prompt is grossly underestimated, often by those who are perpetually late. Prompt people will have difficulty forgiving this indiscretion.
Be Prepared.Come to the conversation with a purpose, questions and a desired outcome.
Watch the timeand make it clear to them that you are aware you have one hour. Stay within that time-frame.
Pay. This is critical. If someone meets at your request and gives you their time, pick up the tab. No exceptions.
My observation of our increasing engagement with mobile technology is it makes us less reliable. Cancelling last minute and lateness have become commonplace, but that does not make it acceptable, particularly when we have requested the time of an acquaintance.
A great network is built on confidence and trust and more than anything is established by our behaviours. What we say won't matter if it's not expressed through our actions.
Please feel free to add your thoughts and guiding principles.
Amy Davies is Founding Partner of the Firefly Group of Companies. She is a writer, professional speaker, insights expert and corporate trainer. Amy lives in Toronto, Canada with her children and partner.
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