“Do you have a minute?”
When someone says that to you, you pretty much know you’ll be talking to them for more than a minute. (And if you get out in under ten minutes you count yourself lucky, right?)
“Just five minutes” really means fifteen… and “fifteen” is around a half hour… and, well, you know the drill.
And so does everyone else!
So one way to get a person’s attention – and get them to become a little bit curious about you – is to interrupt their normal pattern by asking to meet with them for a very specific amount of time:
Several actors in my Power Groups who have used this method will tell you that it works like a charm. It’s just so different and unexpected.
It is SO easy for someone to turn down your request for “a meeting”. In fact, by being vague you allow them to envision the worst case scenario: them trapped in a room for an hour with a babbling actor. No one has the time (or the desire) for that.
Plus, it is fairly awkward for someone to actually say out loud: “No, I don’t have 7 minutes anywhere in my schedule to talk to you.”
Also, by saying this… “I’d love to speak with you for 7 minutes at your convenience sometime next week – I have 3 questions I’d appreciate getting your guidance on.”
…you are actually telling them this: “Don’t worry, I know you are busy, will respect your time, I have already put thought into what I want to ask, and all I want is guidance. And the pain will only last 7 minutes.”
The specificity of your request immediately addresses some of their fears and thus lowers their defenses.