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I deal with a number of requests all focused around setting up a time and location. Sometimes its me reaching out to someone and other times it is someone reaching out to me.

These range from setting up a time to speak via phone or can include setting a time and a place to grab lunch or a coffee.

One thing I have learned, and wanted to pass along is the idea of, serving up options on a silver platter. Whether this is done with making an appointment, getting someone to make a decision, or simply trying to show your point, how you serve things up can make a huge difference on the outcome.

Here are a few principles to remember:
Everyone is busy.
People like to process emailstasks and move on.
Never assume.

So with those three items lets begin. Below are my most successful outreach efforts that have worked for me, as well as notes that are convenient for incoming requests.

The first thing to remember when scheduling an appointment is that even from the first interaction it makes sense to propose timesdateslocations and choices between the three.

For example here is an optimized warm intro to setup a time to speak via phone:

Hi Joe,

I received your contact info from Jane Smith and wanted to setup a time to speak with you about your experience with XYZ Consulting as I am about to make a decision to start working with them. Do any of the datestimes below work for you?

10/07/09 – 2pm or 4pm EST?
10/08/09 – 11am EST
or
10/09/09 – 9am EST

I can be reached at 212-555-1212 but happy to call you at a number you provide.

Thanks,

Alternatively, below is a cold start to setup a lunch:

Hi Joe,

My name is Eric Friedman and I work at ABC Co. I have an interest in what you are working on and would love to chat further over lunch. Are you free next week at noon on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? I can meet you at your office or at a place nearby.

Below are some places that seem convenient
Place 1
Place 2

Let me know what works best for you.

Thanks,

The benefit of doing the hard work ahead of time (picking a timeplacedate) helps someone process the task and get onto their schedule.

Like most people, they next step is to get this information written down or into their calendar. By providing the date, day, time, and location you are helping them get the information logged faster.

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