We all want to have a valuable network of people we can call on to help us or help when our colleagues need us. Building a network like this takes time. In order to get around the necessary leg work required to build a healthy network, we try to cut corners. So instead we try to cut corners by sending bad requests. Usually, these requests aren’t thought out and fail to get us what we want. More importantly, we forget that the person we are trying to meet is usually busy and any request of their time is seen as a hurdle to their own goals.
A typically sloppy request of someone’s time looks like this:
You seem like a great guy. We don’t know each other, but can we grab coffee and chat?
A waste of time
You look like you know a lot about X. I’m going to ask you an open ended question that will probably take you an hour to answer.
A waste of time
A better way to build relationships
If you don’t know the person but are trying to build a relationship, the best thing to do is:
- Check to see this person’s body of work on the internet and try to get inside the person’s mind.
- If you know about this person’s field of interest, try sending the person something of value that will help them with their career.
- If you want to seek advice from this person, ask them a close ended question for instance:
You look like you know a lot about X. Can you provide me a book you suggest I read to learn more about it?
A good person to talk to
From there if the individual is willing to invest in you, they will follow up, if not, you move on to someone else.
P.S – As Homer Simpson once said, “Thou shalt not take moochers into thy hut.” If you like what you read, please share this post and subscribe to my newsletter!