Never ask a busy person to lunch. Busy execs hate lunches. They are time sucks. Sure, they like to occasionally meet good friends or important contacts for lunch, or do group lunches. But somebody they don’t know? Not so much. Same with dinner — a dinner out is a night I don’t get to spend with my kids and family.
So what can you do? “Hey, can I bring you a coffee and get 30 minutes of your time at your offices next Tues or Wed? I promise I won’t overrun my time.” And don’t. You become an easy second date to accept.
(1) If you want to get a meeting or call with someone, make your request specific, attractive and convenient so they can accept it immediately:
- Time: Suggest at least three possible times in your initial email. This maximizes the chance that one of them will be convenient, and they’ll be able to say “yes” without further iteration.
- Location: Suggest a location that’s convenient for them. In his suggestion above, Mark uses “at your offices”.
- Duration: Specify how much time you want, keep it short, and don’t overrun.
- Agenda: Be specific about what you want to discuss by listing questions.
- Appreciation: If you can show your appreciation by offering something for them, do it. In his suggestion above, Mark suggests “Can I bring you a coffee?”.
(2) Cf. (i) How to request a meeting — Steve Blank, (ii) How to request a meeting — Scott Britton, (iii) How to request a meeting — Aaron White.
(3) On specifying an agenda: Why you should demand an agenda for meetings, and how to do it — nicely.