I’ve previously written about how I prefer to meet with someone in person before connecting on LinkedIn (or at least have had several meaningful conversations via phone or email). I receive several requests weekly and if I don’t know the person, I typically will respond with a request to meet over coffee so we can better understand how we might help each other professionally.
Surprisingly, less than 20% will respond back to set up a meeting. The other 80% I never hear from. I guess they were hoping I’d simply accept so they could put another notch on their networking bedpost (so to speak). Sorry, I’m not that easy.
December is a busy month for most people; possibly the busiest month of the year between holiday social events, professional networking opportunities, month-end/quarter-end/year-end deadlines at work, vacation days to use before they expire, and holidays from work. In a “normal” week I try to accommodate up to 3 networking meetings, as my schedule allows. In December, that becomes even more challenging.
I recently received a LinkedIn invitation to connect. I responded with a request to network over coffee first, but indicated that my schedule was booked until mid-January (about 5-6 weeks out from the initial request). This individual replied, “if you are booked until mid January I’m not sure I’m worthy of your time.” I won’t lie – I was taken aback by that reply.
Despite the rocky start and a bad first impression, I decided to give this person the benefit of the doubt. I wrote back assuring this person that my availability has nothing to do with worthiness but with truly being booked-up at this time of year with events, obligations, workload and other appointments previously scheduled. I agreed to touch base in early January once my schedule lightens again (slightly). We’ll see what happens.
I once waited 6 months to meet with a local, very well-known CEO/entrepreneur because his schedule was booked solid until then. Meeting him was important enough to me that I made the appointment that far in advance to connect over coffee.
What’s the longest you’ve had to wait to network with someone you wanted to meet with? Did you feel less “worthy” because you had to wait? How did you handle the situation? How do you handle bad first impressions and/or poor networking “etiquette?”