Let me tell you a story now of a woman named Jeana Cohen, who changed my perception of introductory meetings.
Jeana is an entrepreneur and fitness instructor, her company is aSweat Life. I first came across aSweat Life when I attended one of their monthly “Sweatworking” events in Chicago. It was a really fun time.
A couple days later, I get Jeana’s email newsletter (because in attending the event I was added to her email list). It’s a story about what she’s learned since quitting her job and going all in on aSweat Life. It was a really good read, and I decided I wanted to meet up and network with her to see how we can support each other’s businesses. In my request, I defaulted to the standard “let’s get coffee”.
Here’s what Jeana responded with:
I was free to attend so I said absolutely, and I went and took her class. It was one of the hardest, sweatiest, most endorphin-producing workouts I’ve ever endured in my life.
Memorable New Connections
As you probably know, when making new connections almost everyone offers to meet for coffee, lunch or maybe drinks. This is a tried and true method of meeting face-to-face. It has worked okay for me for years.
Now compare that to Jeana, who pulls off what I now call the Jeana Meeting Method.
In the midst of doing medicine ball squats I thought to myself, “This is incredible. I’m never going to forget this.” See, there are plenty of fitness instructors out there. But Jeana is now the one who is burned into my memory because she’s the instructor who, instead of just grabbing coffee, had me take her class and bust my ass.
Everyone else buys coffee. Jeana brought immediate value.
The Result of a Single Value-Added Meeting
After class ended, we had a great conversation for 20 minutes which, within one week, resulted in:
- Me writing a story about her on the Idea Lemon blog (totally my choice—she did NOT ask me to)
- Me referring people to check out aSweatLife (you should too)
- Me referring Chicago Ideas Week, a prominent media outlet in Chicago, to write a feature post on her
- Her and one of her team members getting involved in a product we beta tested for Idea Lemon
Why So Memorable?
Let’s break down the Jeana Meeting Method, because there are a few things in play here. Here’s her email again:
Jeana accomplishes three things in this note:
- She merges interests. Rather than have to carve out new time to meet with me, she works me into what she’s already doing.
- She creates a barrier to entry. By asking me to take her class, she’ll know immediately if I say “no, that’s not for me”, that I’m probably not someone who is worth her time anyway. She cuts through the crap and makes sure that she’s only allowing high quality interactions into her life, because she knows her time is valuable.
- She suggests something different, which ends up making her instantly memorable, and stand out from the rest. You know what’s way better than those awkward first couple minutes when you meet someone for coffee and say pedantic things like, “Sooo where are you from”? Starting a conversation with, “Man–that was a GREAT sweat. You have to tell me how you got started with aSweat Life?”
How Can You Add Value?
Your value doesn’t have to be taking a fitness class, of course. Think about the things you’re interested in, and how you can merge, create that barrier to entry to only allow high quality interactions in, and create instantly memorable new connections.
What value can you offer? How can you help the person you just met?
I’ve adopted this method since meeting Jeana, asking people who want to meet to come take a yoga class with me, or come to a workshop I teach, and it flat out makes for a better relationship.
When the chips are down, and everyone does the same old crap, what can you do to stand out from the rest when making new connections?
You can be JUST another instructor/lawyer/designer/entrepreneur/marketer, OR you can be the person who is forever memorable because you did something different your first meeting.
Next time, try the Jeana Meeting Method.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Under30CEO.