No you don’t.


Now that that’s out of the way, here’s a longer explanation.

Email from stranger :

Hi Naina,
I need to meet you regarding a brand promotion .
I am based in Gurgaon, so any place is convenient for me .
My number is <redacted> .

Is it ok to replace “brand promotion” with “coffee break” if the email is from a stranger that one has had no prior contact with? I didn’t think so.

“But how else would someone get in touch with you for work Naina?!”

Guess what, you just did get in touch with me. Via that email. Surprise!

So, instead of saying you “need” to meet me and wasting my time ( yes even this email above is wasting my time ), email me what you’d like to discuss. If it turns out to be something that is impossible to execute without an in-person meeting, we will schedule a meeting at a place and time convenient to both parties.

Any place might be convenient for you darling but it is not for me. Do you imagine I go around town meeting each stranger that emails me? You do know that I run a business do you not? And running a business means doing actual work that results in actual deliverables. Which isn’t really possible if I spend all my time running around town meeting with people who may or may not help my business flourish. It’s business, the risks should ideally be calculated.

Who are you? Who do you work with? Why are you emailing me? Why should I meet you? Some context please.

“Who do you think you are?! I wrote to you offering paid work to you and you’re telling me you’re not available to meet me?!”

I would highly recommend keeping your ego to yourself. I like to GET WORK DONE. I do not have the time or the inclination to be even remotely involved in your egotistic stupidity. There’s a reason I left the corporate world – I despise office politics. There is no way in hell I’m going to let anyone try and suck me into any kind of politics. The quickest way to get work done is to ask clearly worded questions and provide context. I will write back with equally clearly worded responses and provide context from my end. Once we’ve established that there’s definitely scope of working together, either now or in the future, then we meet. Invite me to your office or let’s meet half-way based on each of our geographic locations.

Ridiculous how I’ve delivered work to international clients without even a single voice call and the majority of Indian prospects seem to insist on face-to-face meetings.

“But how will we determine whether we can trust you without meeting you?”

You know, I have a blog? I live online? My reputation is online. Google it. You will, at once, find the names of all my clients. You can write to them to seek references. But no. You will not do that. That is too much work. It is so much easier to email me an inane 4-5 lines and say that you “need” to waste more of my time.

Emails like this tell me that you’re cheap. That you’re used to working with rampant unprofessionalism. That you’re ok with your time being wasted. If you’re ok with your time being wasted, you’re ok wasting my time. I’m not.

Proof? I responded to the above email requesting them to provide some context. Two weeks ago. They haven’t responded and I know they never will.


Disclaimer : I LOVE meeting people. But not under the guise of “maybe there’s business here”.


More anecdotes and stories in the #WTFNaina series. ( These are all inspired by true stories. Some written emails, some from face-to-face meetings. They have all been piling up for years now and I’ve decided to put them to use! )

Photo by Rikard Wallin. License via Flickr.