There are a few questions I get asked almost every day. And near the top of the list is:
"I would love an hour of your time. Can I buy you a cup of coffee?"
Really? That's all my time is worth?
Actually, if you know me, you know I love talking. I'd love to give you an hour to chat. Answering questions, helping people solve problems, I live for that stuff.
But every minute of my day is booked. I do team meetings on walks to lunch. Asking me for an hour is taking away my bathroom breaks.
So, show me you're worth it.
I definitely can't give you an hour. But I can give you 15 minutes of my time.
On my time.
Here's how you can get those 15 minutes from me or anyone else.
1) Don't Ask First. Give First.
I'm shocked when I get messages starting with:
- "I'd love to pick your brain for an hour."
- "Could you tell me some of your secrets?"
- "When can I set up a call to talk?"
Self-proclaimed blowhard Gary Vaynerchuk said he wants "51/49" written on his tombstone. He wants to give more than he gets.
It's a great strategy. Copy it.
Lead with what you can bring to the table. Maybe it's a great insight to a post of theirs. Maybe it's the start of a real conversation. Who knows, maybe you even made something for them for free.
Prove to them that you value their time enough to give first.
Then, and only then, ask.
2) Everybody Is Busy. Nobody Needs Coffee.
Most creatives love talking. But most of the time, we're all crazy busy. Sure, I'd love to take an hour and chat my face off. But I don't have that luxury. Even if you come to me.
I write these articles because it's my way of getting information to people at scale. I can't sit down with thousands of people, one at a time, and have the same conversation. But I can write about it, and post it for everyone to read.
3) Get My Time, On My Time.
The reality is, I can't even give you 15 minutes during the day. Most creative directors can't.
But I can give you that time at 11:37 PM when I'm in bed. Or in between a meeting at 2:16 PM. Or 10:41 in the morning, when I'm on the toilet.
I barely want to talk to my mother on the phone, much less anyone else. So, if you have a question, send it to me. I'll let you know pretty damn quickly if I'll be able to get to it.
Just don't put me on your schedule. You're the one asking me for something, remember?
What's Time Worth To You?
Most of the time, it's not whether I want to or not, it's whether I have the time or not. Make it easy for me. Make it easy for anyone. And make it worth it.
A cup of dirt water isn't going to get my attention.
So how will you?