“Don’t Transact Like An Asshat” – Mia Voss, 2017
There appears to be a trend in which people use the “pick your brain” thing to get free shit. That’s just not OK. You have experience and knowledge and skills that have value. Let the world know that there is a cost involved to access these things. Work on saying no. It’s hard sometimes, but once you get the hang of it, the word will just start to tumble out of your mouth whenever needed.
Sometimes knowing that there is a synergy between you and a potential collaborator, you may CHOOSE to give freely to foster a relationship and explore possibilities. However, that is a CHOICE you make, and you are not required to make it. You are in control of how you give your time and skills.
Meetings Do Not Need to Last Forever
Set agendas and time limits for your meetings, regardless of the venue. Online, telephone, Zoom … it doesn’t matter. You might be taking your Zoom meetings in your PJs, but that doesn’t mean they need to turn into open-ended marathons. Have a set time for your meetings and a set ENDING time. It matters. In terms of setting a meeting agenda, do your homework BEFORE the meeting so you can be effective in keeping things on track.
Avoid High-Cost / Low ROI Transactions
Some transactions and interactions carry a HUGE cost in time and effort, but will never actually pay off for you. Exploratory meetings and calls fall into this category, so be careful. Never-ending or repetitive brainstorming sessions are a good indicator that you may be getting sucked into a high-cost / low ROI transaction. When someone shows up for your meetings or calls unprepared or is disrespectful of your systems and boundaries, there is a good chance that you are about to be dragged down a high-cost / low ROI transaction. Stay alert!
Vetting Your Introductions
So you went to high school with Sally, and she wants to connect with you. That alone is not a reason to enter into a transaction with Sally. Ask Sally, or whoever is trying to connect you with her, why you are a good match to connect beyond something basic like shared friends or the same zip code. Before you grant a request for an introduction to a friend or associate, take a few minutes to screen that request. Let your friends and associates know that if you send them someone, it’s not a blind request and that you can be trusted to not waste their time. It will be most appreciated when you do!
Close the loop! If you were granted an introduction, please reach out to the person that facilitated that for you to let them know how it went. Did it go well? Say so? Not so good? Say that too!
Book reference: Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki
Gentle Stalking. It’s A Thing.
If you’re hoping to work with someone or get an introduction, show some interest! Follow on social media. Interact with the content they’re producing. Let them know you share common ground or that you’re picking up what they’re putting down. It’s nice to actually get to know someone rather than just trying to extract something from them. Oh, and it will definitely help grease the gears of introduction and collaboration.
DMs. No. Just No.
It’s 2021. Making a blind connection then sliding into someone’s DMs to make a pitch is so “Church of Hustle” circa 2011. Enough already. Connections take time. Relationships are cultivated. If your plan is to just stab someone with your business card, make take the afternoon off and go fishing instead. You’ll get more out of it.
Scan For Your Own Red Flags
If you’re spending all your time telling people how busy you are and apologizing for not getting back to them or dropping the ball on stuff you said you would do … it might be time to re-think your schedule and your priorities.
Do You Have a Board Of Influencers?
Having a curated circle of trusted associates, influencers, and advisors is a good plan! Cultivate high-quality relationships with people who know people. You don’t have to connect with 1000 people. Connect with ten people that know ten people that know ten people. It’s much easier, allows you to work deeper as opposed to wider, and it’s just damn smart.
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