When you need to set up a meeting with a busy person, asking to go out for a coffee or lunch usually won’t work. You have a better chance if you promise to keep your request to a short amount of time.
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The idea is to make it easier for the person to say yes by showing you respect their time, and that you have a clear idea of what you want to talk about, says strategy consultant Dorie Clark in the Harvard Business Review:
I recently agreed to a phone conversation with one aspiring author who vowed in his email, “You must have a full schedule, so I will get to the point quickly and can keep the call to less than 10 minutes.” In the end, I didn’t speak with the author for 10 minutes; our call, which proved to be engaging, lasted 30 — despite the fact that I likely would have rejected a request for that amount of time.
Telling busy people how long will it take is an important part of the 3B plan for cold emails, so when you are doing that, remember to ask for a short and precise amount of time. You should also check out Clark’s post below for other tips on meeting busy people.
Score a Meeting with Just About Anyone [Harvard Business Review]