Busy leaders. You know them. I hesitated to call them “important” people, because frankly I think all of us are equally important, but these are the leaders who have influence in a certain area of expertise and you would love a chance to spend some time with them just to learn from them. Perhaps you need their assistance for a project or you just want to glean from their experience.
The problem is these leaders have limited time to spend beyond what they are currently doing. You already view their time as valuable to you. You want to make the best use of it that you can.
Here are a few pointers to help your interactions with busy leaders:
Work through his or her system – If he or she has an assistant, use that process unless instructed otherwise. If the person prefers email to phone call, respect his or her wishes. If Twitter is their deal…you need to use Twitter.
Carry the burden – Assume responsibility for setting up appointment. Offer to check back, follow up, send a reminder, check back later, etc. Don’t ask them to “call me when you get time”.
Come prepared – Have your thoughts written out in an outline form to keep you on track in your discussion. Prioritize your list with maximum two or three issues to be covered.
Get to the point – Don’t give all the details unless you are asked for them. Most likely this person is a big picture thinker and will not need all of the details to understand your situation. State your questions or issues of concern up front so the leader knows where the conversation is going.
Be punctual – Remember his or her schedule is most likely full already. Don’t waste more of it.
Honor the time – Don’t overstay your welcome. Commit to ending in the time agreed to in advance.
Be appreciative – Follow up by thanking the leader for his or her time.
What suggestions do you have for meeting with busy people?