Networking via email 101
Once in a while I get an email from someone asking to meet me. The email subject is strong enough for me to open the email. The sender uses the 6 ways to get action from your emails. However, I get the feeling that this meeting is going to be a one way street.
Reading through Quora today, I came across this simple question to Jimmy Wales: “If I ask Jimmy Wales for a meeting, will he meet me?” His answer is simple, but as I read it I stopped and thought “that’s it! that’s why some email requests for meetings seem ok but still get a no”.
Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as a co-founder of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Here is his answer as to whether he might meet you:
“Jimmy, will you meet with me?”
“Possibly, but you’ll have to make a good pitch as to why I should!
It’s actually surprising how many people don’t follow this simple guideline of courtesy. I often get long tedious emails from people explaining to me in great detail how I can help them, how great it would be for them if I would work on their project with it, or endorse it, etc. But they fail to consider my context – why should I care, and even if I do care, why should I act on this rather than any of a thousand other things.One-on-one meetings are a huge time sink and generally unnecessary. Email is almost always more effective.” Jimmy Wales
Consider Jimmy’s Context
When you are asking for time, why will it benefit both? Even if it is my “job” to meet you, the courtesy of thinking through how I might gain from the meeting will make it more worthwhile for us both.