Last summer I surveyed my Idea Lemon audience with the following questions,
What do you usually suggest when you ask someone to meet you for the first time (be it a professional connection, a friendly encounter or even a date)?
– Let’s have coffee
– Let’s have a drink
-Other (lunch, tea, let the person choose)
The poll found that coffee returned 49%, followed by 27% alcoholic liberty, and after reading “other” responses, everyone said they would go to lunch or have tea (instead of coffee), or allow the person to choose a drink or coffee to go with them.
I personally, I sing a beer for professional networking and I try to choose an evening drink when the schedule allows. But when it doesn’t, I default to a day’s coffee (even though I don’t drink coffee).
Let me tell you a story about a woman named Gina Cohen who changed my mind about the introductory meeting.
Gina is an entrepreneur and fitness instructor, her company is Sweet Life.
I first came across a sweaty life when I joined their monthly one Is sweating The Chicago incident. It was a really fun time. Each month they choose a different type of exercise and studio, you pay $ 15 to reserve your spot, you meet people, get a valid goodie bag from their partner sponsors and get a lot of sweat.
This special hour was divided into 30 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT for short), followed by 30 minutes of yoga. This is probably the first time I’ve done HIIT in a formal structure, and it was one of the best workouts of my life.
Gina and I said hi to each other during that workout session and it was. Oh, and I won the raffle to attend the next SweatWorking event, so there was a 10-second exchange where I gave him my email address.
A few days later I received Ginner’s email newsletter (because I was added to her email list when I joined the event). It’s a story about what he learned from leaving his job and moving to Sweet Life. This is a really good read, and I decided to meet and network with her to see how we can support each other’s business.
At my request, I defaulted to the standard “Let’s have coffee”.
Here’s how Gina reacted:
I was free to attend so I said absolutely, and I went and took her class.
It’s one of the hardest, sweatiest, most endorphin-producing workouts I’ve ever had in my life.
Let me bring it back to the original survey question. According to the results, everyone recommends coffee, drinks or lunch.
Now compare it to Gina, who now turns off what she calls Gina meeting method.
While squatting on the medicine ball, I thought to myself,
“This is incredible. I will never forget it.”
You see, there are lots of fitness instructors out there. But Gina is now the one who burns in the memory because she is the trainer who, Instead of just grabbing coffee, let me take her class and cover my ass.
After class we had a great 20 minute conversation which resulted in, within a week:
- I’m writing a story about her on the Idea Lemon blog (totally my choice – she didn’t ask me).
- I mention people checking out a sweaty life. You should too.
- I’m referring to Chicago Ideas Week, a prominent media outlet in Chicago, to write a feature post on.
- He and a member of his team are involved in a product that we have beta tested for Idea Lemon.
Let’s break it down Gina meeting methodBecause there are some things in the game. Here is her email again:
Gina accomplishes three things in this note:
- He combines interests. Instead of trying to find a new time to meet me, she works at what she is already doing.
- He obstructs the entrance. He told me to take his class, if I told him he would know immediately “No, it’s not for me.”, That I am probably not someone who is worth his time anyway. He cuts through the bullshit and makes sure He is only allowing high quality interactions in his life, because he knows his time is valuable.
- He offers something different, which ends Makes him immediately memorable, and different from the rest. You know what a better way than this awkward first few minutes, when you meet someone for coffee and say pediatric things, “So, where are you from?”? Starting a conversation with, “Man – it was a great sweat. Can you tell me how you started a sweaty life?”
It will not take a fitness class. Think about the things that interest you and how you can come together, create those barriers to access only to allow high quality interactions and be instantly memorable.
I’ve been using this method since I met Gina, asking those who want to meet to take a yoga class with me, or come to a workshop I teach, and it builds a good relationship.
What good is a web site if it simply “blends in” with everything else out there?
You could just be another trainer / lawyer / designer / entrepreneur / marketer, or you could be someone who is forever remembered because you did something different on your first date.
Next time, try the Gina meeting method.