I want this topic to come off the right way. It’s what I call the “Hey, I want to pick your brain over coffee” dilemma. First, let me set the context. I contact people for information all the time, and likewise, folks ask me for information and insights. Often, it’s based on a career move: “I’m looking to get into the association industry” or “Hey, our business is in the association business; we’d like to learn how to get involved with more associations.” You get the idea.
What I’ve found over time is these conversations often never go anywhere. For instance, maybe my advice isn’t very good, or my career counseling sucks, and that’s why the dialogues end. I never hear back from them. I believe there should be some expectations laid out prior and how we can have a good plan to make those “pick your brain” conversations more productive. Let me lay some ideas on you.
Here’s a starter: “To make our time productive, I want to cover a few areas during our conversation.” Boom. And, then a few questions to consider.
First: If you seek to work with associations, what differentiates you in the market? What will you bring to the table?
Secondly: Decide which associations or executives you would like for me to connect you with, and why?
Third: What information could I give you that would make this time successful or useful for you?
And, finally: Are there associations or companies you can connect me with to make The Moery Company more successful with associations?
Bottom line: These meetings are a two-way street. If you want to make them meaningful for both parties, be clear about what you want to discuss and bring to the table something you can provide to the other person – this dynamic ensures everyone’s time is well spent. This approach will give you better traction and make the coffee hour more productive for everyone. Hope this is helpful.