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Earlier this week I was enjoying myself at an Oxlo board meeting (the food was “ok” – at least there was food) and I realized that a number of people in the room were folks that I had met randomly. I’ve had a long standing “random meeting” policy – I try to set aside time to get together with people that are referred to me by someone I know. While I don’t do coffee, breakfast, lunch, or other time consuming things, I’m always happy to spend 15 minutes meeting someone for the first time, hearing their story, and seeing if I can connect them up with something I’m involved in.
A year or so ago I realized that the endless context switching between random meetings and all the other stuff I did was disruptive. So – I started doing “random days.” Twice a month, I schedule a day in the office where I fill it up with as many random meetings as I can. I space them apart by 30 minutes and aim for each interaction to be 15 minutes long. If we get into something profoundly interesting, it stretches to 30 minutes. Since I started doing this, I’ve gotten rid of the endless daily interactions that are “random” and end up having a great, super stimulating day where I meet 15 to 20 new people in a very efficient (for me) context.
As I pondered the folks that I work with today that I met “randomly” I smiled and realized this has been working very well for me over the past 20 years.