This post originally appeared on Quora: How do you politely turn down someone who wants to “grab coffee sometime”?
These tips are coming from a recovering let’s have coffee person.
Here are my strategies in an effort to block 100 percent of coffee grabs:
- I request clarification or questions via email. Literally, 85 percent of meetings go to this level and then stop.
- If the person persists, I suggest we chat in real-time to talk via Skype. This kills off another 10 percent of the meetings.
- Lastly, I’ll push it to a phone call while I’m on the bus or driving.
For the remaining 5 percent:
A) If the person comes from a friend or respected person (both of these are hard to turn down), I suggest they join me for lunch in my area and let them know ahead of time it’s for 30 minutes. Note: I use scheduleonce.com and only allow meeting blocks of 15 or 30 minutes. It’s convenient because it can sync with Google Calendar.
b) I have a no-meetings-on-Monday-and-Friday policy that I tell people about.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with group meetings which work really well. You just group together the people that want to meet, helps reduce awkward conversations, might connect two other people and reduces total number of meetings you have.
Bonus: You can try using an auto-responder tactic to all emails but I find this approach weird.
Once you start rejecting, you feel ownership of your time and people will respect your time before they contact you. Seth Godin will respond to your email generally in the same day. However, since he rejects all meetings and you “assume” he’s busy, you are more considerate about emailing requests for his time.
Noah Kagan is the Chief Sumo at AppSumo.com promoting cool tools and content to help entrepreneurs kick more ass (and learn how to make a $1,000 a month business). He writes about startups, marketing, self-exploration, and tacos on his personal blog, Okdork.com, where this piece originally ran.