In: Start-Up19 Nov 2009
One issue that has been killing me lately is how people attempt to schedule meetings with others via e-mail.
I love meeting new people especially those that are doing things they are passionate about. Many people I try to schedule meetings with are a lot higher on the foodchain than I am, so being able to quickly and succinctly articulate that I want to meet with them is super important. Let’s face it, the guys who are way up the food chain are busy and don’t have time for a threaded e-mail chat over gmail.
So here are my 3 keys to getting the job done quick and easy…
Key 1: 3 Sentences Max
We live in the world of Blackberries, iPhones and SMS, don’t forget that! If your e-mail is more than three sentences that means you aren’t getting your point across fast enough. There is no need for fluff in e-mails, everyone is busy and everyone means business so let’s get to the point.
Sentence one – Who are you and what are you doing.
Sentence two – Why you want to meet this person. (If you have a warm lead, use the person’s name who told you to get in touch)
Sentence three – Reference key #2.
Key 2: Date, Time and Location
This is the biggest mistake I see most people make and this is the part that kills me the most. If you want to meet with someone make sure you take the lead in picking a date, time and location.
I understand that one might think leaving the opportunity for the other person to choose a date and time that is convenient for them would be the courteous thing to do. Wrong! By asking the other person to select a date, time and location you are making them do more work which is taking up their precious time.
I personally will throw out two dates, two times and two locations. That gives the other person options and you are more likely to land a meeting in one e-mail, saving you time and a headache. Plus if you choose the location make it close to where you live or work so it’s convenient for you!
Key 3: Keep the Ball in Your Court
As soon as you ask the other person to choose a date, time and location of their convenience you lose control of the conversation. You have just allowed the other person to get back to you at their leisure. If you’re anything like me and are really looking forward to meeting someone, you want to know as soon as possible when to expect that meeting.
By providing a date, time and location option, it’s really easy to follow up if you don’t get a response within a couple of days. For example if I don’t hear back within 2 or 3 days I shoot another e-mail with two lines one of which being, ‘just wanted to check in to see if you are still up for meeting at location on date at time.‘
Here is an example of what I’ve whittled my e-mails down to.
My name is Cort Johnson and I’m from DartBoston, a community for Boston’s most passionate under 30 entrepreneurs, students and professionals. I was told I had to get in touch with you by John Doe. If you are available on December 15 or 16 at 7pm to meet at Starbucks on Boylston St. I would love the opportunity to learn more about what you are working on as well as tell you more about DartBoston.
I would love to know what everyone thinks…
Prior to FKA, I co-founded Terrible Labs, Boston’s premiere web and mobile development company which was acquired by Autodesk. While at Terrible Labs, I also co-founded TicketZen, a mobile, parking ticket payment provider.
I am all about getting out into the community to meet other passionate entrepreneurs so get in touch if I can be of any help.