timeA referral from a respected colleague came to me before Christmas. Someone I should get to know. Off went an email from me to open the communication with the new person. A reply to make an electronic 15 minute appointment (dubbed a “free consultation”) to speak, via her online scheduler, in January. I have fit into her schedule later today.

Time seems to be everything…to her.

Fast forward…

Networking party last night in NYC. I arrive early to help set up. Also arriving early, a guest of a colleague who was given a list of names to be sure to meet; owing to the fact that we live 1 town away from each other, my name among them. He introduced himself and measured out in an articulate way what his area of technical expertise is (beyond my technical experience and something for me to learn about –so goes the world of the future!) and now he seeks a new chapter in his career as a consultant. We agree to mingle all evening and reconvene as we walk to the station and take the train home.

But I am willing to go on the record that the 15 minutes on our way to the train station yielded far more quality than I expect in this afternoon’s “free consultation.”

There was no rushed limitation being preset, allowing my train friend and I to realize as we walked. in unhurried and natural conversation, how much we thought alike and the people we know in common.

And in that hour on the train, as it turned out, we had a most intense conversation about the life of a consultant. I was pleased to offer suggestions and insight, refer my logo artist, and invite him to another networking meeting I chair.He introduced me to a book I want to read.

In sum, 15 minutes plus an added hour, of great natural conversation. I learned from him and he learned from me.

OK, condemn me for prejudging this afternoon’s speed conversation and her scheduling rules and structure. I hope I am wrong. We shall see, but you can be sure I will review the LinkedIn profiles of both new referrals and pursue all common threads to optimize the next time and the quality we are allowed to spend.

Quality of time is paramount to me, which is not necessarily a function of quantity of time!