How to Get A Meeting with Me

Last Wednesday, I got an email from a student.  It read:

Subject: Questions

Good morning Dean Jarley,

My name is  …., a student in your college of business. I would like to personally introduce myself to you in person and talk to you for a few minutes about yourself, this program and the future. If you could respond through this email, or give me a call at 555-555-5555 I’d appreciate it. Looking forward to hearing from you.

My response:

Good Afternoon ….:

I appreciate your courage in reaching out, so I’m going to use this opportunity to give you some insight into how to secure a meeting with someone in a position like mine.  I have 225 employees. 9,000 students and am charged with transforming business education over the next five to ten years at UCF. I have layers of people below me and 12 direct reports who manage the day-to-day operations of the college. Tons of people want to see me.  This makes time my most precious asset and I have to manage it very carefully.

If you want to get a one-on-one meeting with someone like me and not just get directed to a person who works for me and can help you with an immediate concern, you need to be able to articulate a compelling reason why I should take the time to meet with you.  In other words, you need to figure out in this instance how you are going to “get to the one.”   

The email you sent falls short in that regard.  It’s subject says you have “questions,” but I don’t know anything about the nature of the questions. Again I employ lots of people who can give you answers to lots of questions.  The body of your email suggests you want advice, but it’s not clear what type of advice you want.  Whether you want questions answered or advice, I can’t yet judge whether I am the right person for you to see.  In most instances, I am not that person.

So if you are up to the challenge, fashion an email that tells me what you really seek and why I would want to meet with you to discuss the topic.  Keep it short, like an elevator pitch.  Worst case scenario is that I direct you to someone who can give you a better answer than I can.

 Dean Jarley

I’m hoping the student writes back.