By Michael Simmons, Contributor

Full Article Here: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-15-minute-daily-ritual-will-transform-your-network-2014-7

You have coffee next to your keyboard. It spreads a sweet aroma along with the promise of instant alertness. You’re psyched for your to-do list (which you’re about 20 hours behind on).

You start scanning your email inbox. There is an email from a stranger asking if they can meet you for lunch. The person looks interesting. However, you don’t see an immediate and obvious connection to your urgent deadlines and goals.

“To go to lunch or not?”

That is the question.

Your answer compounded over time will have a dramatic impact on your career and life.

Solely meeting those who have an immediate benefit might lead to missed game-changing personal and professional relationships.

On the other hand, if you take the reactionary approach of meeting with everyone, you may not have the time to push your business forward to sustainability and greater impact.

What should you do? 

The Challenge

Throughout my career, I’ve struggled with this question and experimented with many different approaches:

  • Autoresponders

  • Ignoring emails

  • Declaring email bankruptcy

  • Reducing meeting requests to email exchanges

Ultimately, none of these approaches has lasted because none of them have felt right.

Many of my most important personal and professional relationships have come when there wasn’t an immediate and obvious benefit. Also, I love connecting with and helping others. I would not be where I am if it were not for mentors who helped me with no prospect of immediate payoff.

So what is the best solution? 

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Step 4: Use Scheduling Software To Set Up The Calls

The software you can use to setup calls is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Using the right software means you save 5-10 emails per meeting:

  • Coordinate the call time/date (1-3 emails back-and-forth)

  • Send out a confirmation email

  • Send out an email asking what they want to get out of the call

  • Send out a follow up email to thank them and make sure you’re connected on social media

There are several free options that are helpful for setting up a call time/date, which also sync with Google Calendar including YouCanBook.Me and Assistant.to.

I personally recommend AppointmentCore because of it’s many extended automation features. With AppointmentCore, it’s very easy to send custom automated emails before and after each meeting or even automate a personal reminder text message like, “Hey Bob, I look forward to our chat in 20 minutes!” With the time saved sending those text messages and emails alone, the software pays for itself.

When people set up the meeting, you can customize your appointment scheduling software to ask them a few questions. At the very least, you can ask for:

  • Their phone number

  • The one thing they’d like to get out of the meeting

This information will save email back-and-forths and make sure that the meeting is efficient.

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