Three people in three days and each conversation was unique.
The first conversation, over coffee, was with a guy that a mutual friend suggested that I meet. This guy is seeking a career move and wanted some help.
I asked him some basic questions about his history and what he has been doing to find that next job. He responded to each question with a clear response followed up by a question about me. Our conversation was enjoyable as we learned more about each other in an easy to go coffee meet. I think I left him with some good ideas because he was very appreciative of our time together and he asked me if there was anything he could do to help me. I told him that we needed to stay in touch, “I may need your help in the future.”
As we left the coffee house I shook his hand, asked him to please give me a call if I can help him any more and I suggested we meet again soon.
The second conversation was with a business man who asked me if I would meet with him under the pretense that he wanted to get to know me. In the invite email he indicated that some of our mutual business contacts suggested that he meet me. I agreed to have lunch with him.
Early in the conversation I asked him to tell me about his business. He proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes telling me all about his company, the benefits of doing business with him and some of the reasons why his industry peers can’t compare with him.
At one point in his “presentation” I had the opportunity to comment on something he said. My response must have touched a nerve because he cut me off with a long winded diatribe of why he felt different and how I should hire his company to help me with a project that he thought I should be doing.
During our nearly one hour lunch I don’t believe he asked me more than 2 questions. He monopolized the conversation trying to convince me to hire his company or for me to introduce my contacts to him so that they would do business with him. I never got the opportunity to tell him I did not need his services or that I felt that none of my business contacts should contract with him either.
Before we left the lunch table I asked him to remind me who suggested to him that we meet. I need to pay attention to whom they introduce me to in the future.
As we left the restaurant I politely shook his hand and wished him a good day. I doubt I will have lunch with him ever again.
The third conversation was with a gentleman who recently moved into town. Again, a mutual friend suggested that he meet me, telling him that I could help him with his job search.
We met outside of one of my favorite lunch places. As we walked up to the counter he told me that he wanted to buy my lunch because he needed my help. I told him he did not need to do this. He insisted, “I need your help and I want to buy you lunch in return for your guidance.” I politely agreed and thanked him.
Over lunch he began to tell me about his career and why he moved to North Carolina. After a nice volley of conversation about ourselves and our families, I asked him some questions to get a feeling for how he thought I could help him. He asked me some questions about my business and the work that I do with our unemployed friends, family and neighbors.
We chatted back and forth nearly 2 hours. It was a fun conversation where I learned a bunch of cool things about the industry he used to work in and I gave him some suggestions towards his goal of finding a job in North Carolina.
As we left the restaurant, I thanked him again for buying my lunch and I suggested that we get together again soon to review his efforts toward getting that next job.
He thanked me for my time and guidance and said, “If there is ever anything I can do to help you, please give me a call.” I assured him I would.
Three people in three days. Each conversation was unique. Two of the people get it. One does not, and I doubt he ever will.