Are you a Decision-Maker? Not so fast, you.

March 17, 2010

We all make a thousand decisions every day.  Maybe I should ask, “Are you an effective decision maker?” instead.

Every Sunday, I open my calendar and review how many meetings are slated for the upcoming week.  Then I try to set up a lunch or drinks with the people who are guaranteed to make my days even more fun (I’m looking at you Sami).  I go through emails and DMs that I’ve flagged for followup and quite often lately, I’ve noticed this:

Friend:  “We should get together soon.  Let me know when you’re free.”

I always want to respond, “What, do you want a freakin’ list of dates and times?”  We should all keep a spreadsheet of our year at a glance and send it back with a “pick your slot” option.  Guaranteed to make anyone feel unimportant.

Which isn’t my goal or my recommendation.

I usually reply:  “I agree!  How’s Tuesday at 6?  I could do lunch on Wed as well.  You?”

Friend:  “Nah, I’m booked solid those days.”

The End.

OK, not really the end, but what an effortless effort at getting a meeting, even for personal funtime shenanigans.  I always wonder if that’s how they handle business meetings too.

Why treat business and personal goals any differently?  When trying to land a meeting with that big account, you don’t simply ask them to call you whenever they feel ready to do business.  You make it irresistible for them to refuse.

It’s an old (but good) sales technique to always have the desired result in mind.  In this scenario, the desired result is not just the meeting but when the meeting will occur.  I respond with specifics because I really want to make “setting the meeting” as simple as possible for the other person.  It is appreciated, I assure you.

Optimal scenario:

You: “We should get together soon!  I’m free for lunch Tues and Thurs or drinks Fri.  Wide open next week for dinner too.  I know you love sushi and you really should try Indie Cafe.”

Your friend: “How could I ever resist this thoughtful and thorough invitation…”

Nine times out of ten, even the busiest of busy people will be able to pick out a time from the wide range provided and will appreciate the absence of back-and-forth.  The sushi reference will trigger salivation, and that you recalled a personal “like” will equally impress.  He/She will also remember you as someone who is easy to work with,  an effective decision-maker.

Of course, if they don’t…they may just not like you.

See what I did there?

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7 Responses to “Are you a Decision-Maker? Not so fast, you.”

  1. Sami Says:

    I’ve actually always wanted to create a public calendar so people CAN just pick a slot and get done with it. I hate the going back and forth. Although the technique you mentioned might just be the thing I need to do from now on.

    Thank you!

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Are you available Tuesday, March 23rd for some Southern food? We could check out The Southern in Bucktown. 🙂

  3. Susana Says:

    Glad we got ourselves to Hopleaf. We have to do Tanoshii soon, speaking of sushi.

    This is all bang on.

  4. fabgeekling Says:

    this is fantastic advice.

    Embarrassed to say I’m always the person who says “let’s do lunch sometime” but doesn’t give a firm invite. Maybe the reason why I always eat lunch alone! LOL!

  5. kerrierieo Says:

    You have hit the nail on the head, Felicia. If you are unavailable on the suggested dates, simply offer some other acceptable dates or times. At least *appear* to make an effort. After a few unsuccessful attemps at making plans with someone, I will move them to the back burner. Usually this is a great decision because it seems like people who waste our time like this are A) Flaky and unable to commit to appointments; B) Unable or unwilling to hold a schedule; C) Unorganized and unable to hold a schedule; D) Too self-absorbed to schedule meaningful time with others in their “Oh I’m SO busy!” world. So, it’s a win-win situation because I won’t stress out trying to make plans with the said person and they won’t get repetitive invites from me any longer.

    I hate the going back & forth and have started a shared Google calendar with my girlfriends where we all can input events of interest on it. So then we all know that next week’s networking event is at XYZ venue and if we’re interested we can attend and if not, that’s where some of us will be.

    Great article, I may forward it around to some of my anti-planning friends. But then again, they are probably “too busy!” to read it. 🙂

    • feliciacago Says:

      Thanks Kerri! One of my least favorite things is to hear people complain about how busy they are. The busiest people in the world never complain about this because they are too busy taking care of business. It’s usually an indicator of poor time management…or they just want to sound important.

      Great idea with the shared Google calendar! I’d steal it, but I’m way too busy. 🙂


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