The other day a friend emailed me to complain about a stranger who had asked her for a networking meeting. He wanted her advice on his job search.
The reason she complained is that she had suggested that they meet for coffee at a Seattle coffee shop with a very distinctive name, let's say Cubano Coffee. He wrote back saying, "Great! Where is Cubana Cafe?"
Knowing that I write about business communication, both good and bad, my friend shared his message with me. She saw it as an example of not taking initiative and poor attention to detail, since he spelled the name of the coffee shop incorrectly, even though he could have just copied and pasted it. If the man wanted her advice and was asking her to meet with him, couldn't he take the initiative to open his browser and learn where Cubano Coffee is? (I made up the name to disguise the situation, so please don't search for it.)
You might wonder why my friend did not tell the man the location initially. She didn't tell him because she would have had to do the work of finding and copying the address, and she thought he could easily find it. But she ended up having to provide the information anyway.
A week passed, and it was the day before my friend was to meet with the man. On that day, he emailed her again, writing, "I wanted to confirm our meeting tomorrow. Where shall I meet you?" Breathing deeply and keeping her frustration in check, she replied and informed him–again–of where they were meeting.
Networkers, take initiative! If you are asking someone to meet with you to receive advice, information, or support, make an extra effort to impress him or her with your competence and energy.
Before meeting with the man, my friend had already determined that he did not take initiative and did not manage information well. That first impression no doubt colored their meeting. I would guess that my friend did not share her best contacts with the individual because he had not presented himself well.
What is your view of this situation? Did my friend expect too much? Or did the man misunderstand that networking requires energy and resourcefulness? I would like to learn your view.