If you have started a new organization or school, you know that the more successful you become, the more likely you are to be barraged with people who’d like to meet with you, learn with you, ask your advice, etc. This is ever so true during the High Holiday season, when congregants and students introspect and want to meet with a rabbi or educator to discuss how they can continue to further their relationships with Hashem, their spouse and children.
Below, is how you say “yes” more often to such inquiries, while simultaneously helping others and protecting your valuable time.
1) Turn Your Phone Call into a Podcast
A student emails several questions and asks to set up a phone call. When you read the email, you realize that the questions are ones that you receive frequently.
Consider asking your student if you could record the call as a podcast interview, so that you could later share it online. What this means is that during your chat, you can answer the questions, while also creating — without any additional effort — content that can benefit others for years to come.
2) Have a Group Meeting
Sometimes people need to meet privately to discuss matters of importance with their rabbi. However, there are congregants and students who want to learn and discuss some basic questions when it comes to the order of the simanim on Rosh HaShanah and how to properly erect a Sukkah. When it comes to people who are asking general questions like the ones above, consider saying, “I don’t know if I have time for a personal meeting as it’s very busy in preparation for the High Holidays. However, I am getting together with other people from the shul to discuss similar questions and I suggest that we all get together for coffee or before davening mincha to discuss these matters.”
By offering a group meeting, your congregant or student doesn’t feel as if you “don’t have time for them” or that you simply “blew them off.” Who knows? Everyone sitting there may learn something else from the other person!
3) Create a Blogpost from an Email
As a rabbi and educator, sometimes people ask you questions via email and you know that inevitably someone is going to ask the same question again tomorrow. So instead of sending a quick message, consider taking a few extra minutes to write a response that you could publish as a blogpost that answers this question.
The benefit of doing this is that people can refer to this post or you can simply send the link anytime people ask this question in the future. If you are unsure about having a blog of your own, read our earlier post entitled, 4 Compelling Reasons Why Every Rabbi and Educator Should Blog.
Managing around-the-clock requests from students and congregants can at times be difficult. However, if you’re strategic and consider employing some of these tactics or others like them, you can still help and keep your focus on writing your sermons, checking the eruv and staying on top of your family obligations.