I believe in random encounters. I believe in free exchanges. But, because of professional context, a lot of people ask me to “grab a coffee”. I just cannot do it with everyone who asks.
The most likely reason you are here is that I sent you a link to this page. I do that when someone contacts me with “let’s grab coffee” or “let’s have a chat”, without the context.
Meeting someone takes work and time. I prepare to meet people and follow-up on meetings. So you are asking for at least a couple of hours of my time.
Your request is not random, you want my time for something of your interest. So I think it is fair that, before I give you a couple of hours of my time, you spend yours researching and convincing me it is going to be worth it.
If you are trying to sell me something (a product, a service, an idea)… Make sure I am a good candidate to need it. Write a compelling summary of what that is. If I delete it after reading the first paragraph and don’t respond. Please do not insist.
If you are seeking my opinion or advice… I like to and often share my thoughts and experiences with others. Make sure you know the questions you want me to answer and that you are prepared to listen to it. Make sure to read what I have already written on the subject (use Google). When you contact me, provide enough context for me to judge whether or not I can help.
If you want a favor… Just tell me what the favor is before I agree in spending more time talking about it. Why should I help? Am I contributing to a better world? If I help you, how are you going to help me? Am I somehow unique in the ability to help? Why me?
If you are trying to buy something from me… There are not a lot of things I can sell, but whatever it is, it will be very expensive. Tell me what it is that you want.
If you just want access to my network of relationships because someone told you I am well-connected… I am not. And relationships are inherited through relationships, you cannot access mine without being part of the network. Build your own relationships, one person at a time.