I love it when people come up to me to try to pick my brain about their idea, whether it’s about entrepreneurship education at Stanford, a new startup idea, or just something random. However, I am really impressed by those who take the time to prepare and think about how I can benefit from what they are thinking. As a student, I am in no position to deny a meeting request, and I usually learn a great deal from meetings while making new friends along the way. But I especially appreciate those who come with clear ideas about what would be interesting to me and the organizations I represent.
Here are some partnership diagrams that someone sent me to clearly explain to me what BASES was going to get out of a partnership. (I’ve censored stuff since they are confidential in nature).
I think this is how everyone should think about meetings. Even when I am listening, I try my best to understand, interpret, and engage in what is being discussed. I try to think about what the other party is interested in and I try my best to help. I have a system where I write down key points and quotes from people – just enough to jot my memory, and then I write out specific action items with a star next to them so I don’t forget. Every week or so, I’ll make sure I flip through my notebook to follow through on the items I had promised to deliver. And I do all that just to listen. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for those making the meeting proposal to try to find out as much as they can before the meeting what is most interesting to the other party and come in having thought about how both parties can benefit. If you have trouble coming up with that, you probably shouldn’t propose to meet.
David always makes fun of me and my “Manager’s Schedule.” But I think I try to maximize the effectiveness of these hour-long meetings by going about them with a system, and then aspire to be a “Maker” like David by taking time out to accomplish the items that come up during these meetings. It’s always a struggle to achieve this balance, but I am working away at it. Let me know if you have any thoughts! =D