Networking Skills: Don't Waste My Time
Why do we never have enough?
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 12/09/2018 @ 8:00AM
One of the most precious commodities we have always seems to run out just when we need it most. I'm talking, of course, about time. I never seem to have enough of it ...
Time is a resource we're all short of and it's a skill not to waste it!
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People say that it speeds up as we get older; the reality is that actually, it's because we slow down. But I digress, and in danger of demonstrating the very trait I want to warn you about ... wasting time.
"There are plenty of blog posts about how you can save your time!"
Just Google 'wasting time' and you'll be flooded with quotes, homilies and advice on how not to waste your time. What is harder to pull out are quotes, homilies, and advice on how to not waste other people's time.
Although I did find this one:
"I'm not gonna waste your time, so I wouldn't expect you to waste my time" – Terrell Owens
I learnt that Terrell Owens is an American footballer (there that's a couple of seconds you'll never get back)
Networking is about building relationships, and as everyone you know in business is probably as time hungry as you, they probably won't want to spend time with you if they believe you're cavalier with their time.
If you don't believe me, do try this: Make a list of all the ways others waste your time. Now, check if you know, really know for certain, that you never behave like that yourself.
Here's my list with some claims to shame in no particular order
We said we'd meet at 10 and I've got an hour. So, meeting at 10.15 means either we get less done, or I run into the time I've allocated for others. I go back to my RAF days when the rule was if you weren't 10 minutes early you were late. Time for contingencies. As a civilian living with Northamptonshire roadworks, being late occasionally is forgivable.
What does it say about your respect for me if you're always late? If you think I don't care when you're late yet again, you're kidding yourself. I probably said something on the third time ... in which case you know who you are!
Cancelling at the last minute
It's 10 minutes before our rendezvous, and I'm three-quarters of the way there when I get a call or message to say "sorry can't make it". Now, accidents happen and the cat will get sick sometimes, but it's amazing how often it happens to particular people.
Standing you up
Really? Are you in business? Have you heard of mobile phones? At least call and say the cat is sick. Now, diary mishaps will happen and I still blush when I remember I did it recently myself. Was it forgivable? Maybe once. Did it make that relationship falter ... definitely.
These are where you pontificate endlessly without adding much. Did you prepare? Are you clear what you want from the meeting or are prepared to contribute? If you want some excellent pointers to effective meetings read Andy Bounds Tuesday Tips
My coach reminded me that an hour is plenty long enough for a meeting. I do have a tendency to natter on so have to watch this one. A good tip is to agree on a timescale before you start.
No decisions and no action
Relationships are cemented by what you do for each other. A decision is the first part of the action and needs to be followed through. Oh, how many bad meetings have I been to where decisions were made only to be rescinded almost immediately? Or just ignored.
The rule of thumb is only to sign up for what you intend to do and follow the old adage. Over promise and under deliver. Your credibility is on the line.
Why do we do waste others time like this? I think there are several reasons and you may suffer from one or several of these:
You believe your time is more precious than the other person's
You lack the assertiveness to say no to impossible deadlines
You lack planning your time and live in, hopefully mild, chaos that predisposes you to forget
You overestimate your abilities or underestimate the time a task takes
It's worth analysing the real reasons you waste someone's time. Then you know what needs to change. Is it worth it? It will improve your relationships and save you time repairing the damage you've caused.
"I'd love to hear of other ways people waste your time, if only to check that I'm not on your blacklist!"
If you'd like to find out more about how not to waste time - either yours or others - and how they can help to grow your business then do give me a call on 07970 638857 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
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