Recently I surveyed the Idea Lemon tribe about how we ask to meet someone for the first time. Let’s take a look at the results.
When you ask to meet someone for the first time (this could be a professional connection, a friendly encounter, or even a date) what do you typically suggest?
LET'S GRAB COFFEE: 49%
LET'S GRAB A DRINK: 27%
65 total responses
Basically, coffee is the most popular, followed by an alcoholic libation, and from reading through the “other” responses, everyone said either going to lunch or going to tea (instead of coffee), or letting the person pick drinks or coffee is their go-to move.
Me personally, for professional networking I’m a beer guy and I try to opt for an evening drink when the schedule allows. But when it doesn’t, I default to a daytime coffee (even though I don’t drink coffee).
Let me tell you a story now of a woman named Jeana Cohen, who I recently met.
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. Each month they pick a different type of exercise and studio, you pay $15 to reserve your spot, you meet people, get a legit-ass goodie bag from their partner sponsors, and get a great sweat in.
This particular one was this awesome hour divided into 30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT for short), followed by 30 minutes of yoga. This was probably the first time I’ve done HIIT in a formal structure, and it was one of the best workouts of my life.
Jeana and I said hi to each other during that workout session and that was about it. Oh, and I won the raffle to attend the next Sweatworking event next Tuesday, so there was about a 10-second exchange where I gave her my email address.
A couple days later I get Jeana’s email newsletter (because in attending the event I get 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’s a really good read, and I decide I want to meet up and network with her to see how we can support each other’s businesses.
Here’s where I default 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. Here’s what the class entailed:
40 second sprint on a treadmill, 10 seconds rest.
40 second sprint on an incline treadmill, 10 seconds rest.
40 seconds of medicine ball squats, 10 seconds rest
40 seconds of medicine ball sit ups, 10 seconds rest
40 seconds of plank jacks (look ‘em up if you don’t know), 10 seconds rest
40 seconds of mountain climbers (look ‘em up if you don’t know), 10 seconds rest
40 seconds of planks to forearm planks, 10 seconds rest
40 seconds of lunges, 10 seconds rest
40 seconds of wall sits, 10 seconds rest
40 seconds of squats with a medicine ball, launching the ball in the air going up and catching it on the down squat, 10 seconds rest
40 seconds of one-legged TRX rows (look ‘em up if you don’t know), 10 seconds rest
40 seconds with the other leg, 10 seconds rest
Repeat the whole circuit one more time. 50 minute workout in total.
Right now you’re probably thinking,
“Raj, why the hell are you telling us about your workout? Are you already one of those crossfit people who never stops talking about crossfit?”
Let me bring this back to the survey question.
What we teach people with Idea Lemon is how to stand out from the rest.
When the chips are down and everyone is doing the same old crap, how do you set yourself apart?
According to the results, everyone suggests to get coffee, drinks, or lunch. That's not standing out at all.
Then there’s Jeana, who pulls off what I’m now dubbing the Jeana Meeting Method.
In the midst of doing the medicine ball squats I thought to myself,
“this is incredible. I’m never going to forget that this was my first encounter with Jeana.”
See, there are plenty of fitness instructors out there. But Jeana is now the one who is memory burned because she’s the instructor who, instead of just grabbing coffee, had me take her class and busted my ass.
After class ended we had a great conversation for 20 minutes which, in just one week, has already resulted in:
- Me writing this story about her (totally my choice---she did NOT ask me to)
- Me referring people to check out aSweat Life. You should too.
- Me referring Chicago Ideas Week to write a feature post on her
- Her and one of her team members getting involved in a product we’re beta testing for Idea Lemon
Let’s break down the Jeana Meeting Method, because there are a few things in play here.
First, as a side note, in my email to her, I show her I’ve read her work and explained how I relate to it.
This is how you establish rapport right off the bat with someone you want to meet. Don’t just say “hey can we meet?”. Let them know exactly how and why they impact you.
Now onto Jeana’s email, and the Jeana Meeting Method.
Jeana accomplishes three things.
- 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. This is a great example of the "I'm doing this, are you in?" logic. 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 stupid shit 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?”
It doesn’t have to be taking a fitness class. 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 become instantly memorable.
When the chips are down, and everyone does the same old shit, what can you do to stand out from the rest?
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.
Take care and be awesome.
What up! My name is Rajiv Nathan and I'm the Cofounder of Idea Lemon. That banana peel you slipped on to land here came from me. That's because I fancy myself a human Curious George, and the yellow hat I chase is life's authentic moments. I share my chase one story at a time through this blog, our email newsletter, and as a rapper.
Oh and I'm a WWE fan 4 lyf!