If we’re going to succeed, we need to partner. And to partner with the best, we need to learn how to partner with busy people. After all, it’s often those “busy people” who are getting things done, are highly connected, or well-resourced to help us succeed.
Why Busy People are Busy
When thinking about partnering with a busy person, first ask yourself what kind of busy they are. Are they “Back Off Busy” – what I call someone who uses their crazy schedule as a protection from having to say “yes” to any new demands. If someone is feeling over-committed or stretched too thin, they can start sending off busy signals to head off new requests. In that case, you may just want to connect with them on a human level, and leave your partnering pitch for another day.
But sometimes people are “BOOM Busy” – what I call someone who is making things happen. They’re shaking things up, squeezing things in, and often maintaining a wide variety of connections and other partnerships. If this is the case, that busyness is often a sign that if we connect well with them, as a partner they may help us BOOM, make things happen too!
How to Partner Busy People
Some of the people I’ve partnered with in my Scout & Cellar business lead very busy lives. They aren’t working with me because they have tons of extra time; they’re working with me because they want to BOOM, make things happen together. Here are some things I keep in mind that seems to make a difference at being able to maintain collaboration and partnership with rock stars and busy professionals:
1. Respect Their Pace
In any given moment, people tend to be moving either fast or slow. Try to determine if the busy signals you’re getting are communicating “make this quick” or “let me take my time.” Someone who is moving at a fast pace needs you to be prepared before calls, speak quickly, hit the highlights, and move when they’re ready to move. Slowing them down will often result in losing the partnership.
Someone moving at a slow pace needs you to answer their questions, mirror their conversational speed, and not throw in the towel when the back-and-forth of communication spans weeks instead of hours. It’s easy to lose out on powerful partnerships if you feel the need to get “closure” on prospective partnerships that don’t seem to be coming to fruition quickly enough. Sometimes patience is the magic key.
2. Focus Communication
Long, windy emails that cover several topics or explore a dozen options rarely receive positive responses from busy people. Even a partnering prospect who is moving at a fast pace doesn’t want to cover too much ground in a long email or message. Move one step at a time, be clear what you are asking or offering, and try to leave the other person with a single decision or choice – or a focused action to take – at a time.
I learned the hard way that crafting a long-winded pitch that covered all the bases did NOT inspire people to partner with me. Instead, real partners want you to TALK with them, and treat them like a person. Even if it’s by exchange of emails, focus your communication rather than burying them in words. Each partner is unique, so focus your communication to respect and explore that.
3. Get Curious About Their Goals
In general, when you’re partnering with someone, it’s because they don’t already share your exact goal. When I start working with a keto coach to help them start recommending wine, or a real estate broker who wants to make a statement with client gifts; I know they don’t already have a focus of making the world a better place through wine like I do.
But they have a goal.
Even if I can’t personally make their goals happen, one of the best ways to keep engagement with them in their busy life is to stay curious about their goals, connect them to people I know and ideas that can boost their success, and make sure I don’t have only a one-track mind when I talk to them. Partnering, after all, is a two-way street. So make sure you’re staying in touch with their current goals. You never know how knowing their focus might strengthen your ability to collaborate and support each other.
Collaborate With Me:
If you like the idea of a partner who will respect your pace, communicate with intention, and seek to understand and support your goals; I hope you’ll consider partnering with me. I’m very transparent about my approach and what I’m trying to do in the world. You can learn all about it on my website, www.WendyKelley.com.
Whatever you do, I hope you’ll connect with me. I look forward to knowing you more.