Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How I'll try handling "unproductive" meetings

Fred Wilson, ubiquitous VC blogger just posted about taking and managing "unproductive" meetings. By unproductive, he means meetings that are typically one-sided (i.e. guys like me coming to talk to him about getting into VC) where there is a fairly good chance that only one party is getting value right off the bat.

This got me thinking as I go back into the workforce. Just as I got on the phone, LinkedIn, did informationals, etc with a variety of CBS and non-CBS related VC folks during my search, I need to return the favor, especially to the students who are at CBS now. However, in trying to kick butt in a new job, taking care of my growing family, etc there is not going to be alot of time in the day for these sorts of things. I think Fred's tips are useful ones and probably ones I'll have to put into practice to stay sane.

This tip was my favorite ('Jimmy' is Fred's friend who is not in the VC biz):

5) Try to do it right in the meeting if you can. A quick email or phone call right during the meeting can be a great way to get the thing done you agreed to do. Jimmy told me he does this a lot and I agree that it's a great trick if you can pull it off.

I had an informational a few weeks ago where the VC I was meeting with did just this. Not only did it save him time because my follow-up would be limited to a 'Thank you' versus a 'Can you', but it made a hugely positive impression on me because you're actually seeing someone who you hardly know spring into action on your behalf, right in front of you. Pretty powerful stuff if you ask me.

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