YES! Thanks for writing this, Jason. Amen. Adding to my collection on this topic.
My favorite is an ask for a “quick” coffee, chat, email back and forth… I just want to respond with a definition of “quick” and a “nope” gif.
While I appreciate the offer to come to me, quite honestly, I’m usually still not piqued. Especially for people I don’t know — what I prefer is that they look at my event calendar and come to a listing there, or they ask if there’s an event I’m already attending where we could meet up — win-win in my mind. I don’t have to add anything to my plate and they usually get more goodness out of it, attending an awesome event with awesome people.
Constant struggle for me though, remembering how many folks said yes to me (like you! Thank you Mel Harris), especially when I first started Mac & Cheese, and ironically being a business all about making people feel good and helping them connect, encouraging them to live a Life of Yes℠, and then here I come and NO them.
I find that the event suggestion and/or referring them to a resource or person who might be better able to help them is a good solution though. Just have to be careful you’re not just passing them onto someone else who’ll have to grapple with the conundrum. I usually send them to folks who do one-on-one’ness (consultants, life coaches, career counselors, mentors, etc.).
Try to remind myself to stop feeling bad in these scenarios. You note “when you are pitching someone who’s busy and occupied with trying to focus on their own business…” I think even if you’re not busy, it’s ok to say no and not feel bad. To be honest, sometimes I don’t want to meet you for coffee because I want to lay on the couch, eating donuts, watching The Wire.