Friday, March 07, 2008

Do You Go on a Lot of Dates that Go Nowhere?

I am discussing professional dates - business lunches, breakfasts, etc. If you answer yes to the headline question than you may be a professional visitor.

A professional visitor is someone that arranges for a lot of face-time, all the time, but never really seems to get anything from the relationships they establish. Typically a professional visitor is an extremely likable person with lots of great connections, is fun to be with, willingly helpful when asked and engaging in every way. Except in taking care of themselves.

The purpose of a professional dating is to produce opportunity for both parties. If you assess yourself as a professional visitor than try these simple steps:
  • Do not schedule professional dates if there is no reason, for you, to go on the date (an occasional goodwill date is great, but be selective with your availability).
  • Know what it is you want from the date (an introduction, a shot at an opportunity, etc.).
  • ASK for what you want! Don't be vague or drop hints -- be upfront and forthright. People appreciate and reward full disclosure.
  • Remember that you are willing to help them in what ways you can. It is reasonable that you ask for the same when and where it makes sense.
  • After every meeting write down anything that was promised to you and see if it matches your goals for that date.
  • Finally, follow up on any commitments they made. Make a call or send an email after a few days just to keep things moving along.
Remember, professional dating is important in any successful practice. Doing it well can spell the difference between a stagnant practice and the practice of your dreams.