The rich, the powerful, the famous, almost always seem out of reach. Unless your cousin went to college with David Beckham or your dad spent his youth spinning records with Idris Elba, it may seem like there is no way into their inner circles.
Some people will try regardless sending ‘cold call’ emails with very optimistic requests such as:-
“Can we arrange a meeting over coffee?”
“Can I pick your brain for an hour or so?”
“Maybe we can schedule lunch sometime?”
The above messages are usually ignored and for good reasons, being they are insulting to anyone who is successful and busy.
It is not arrogance that prompts people to decline such invitations – it’s the only way they can cope. Such people are not going to waste their time on a stranger who does not have the sense to lead with a value proposition. The question one should be asking is:-
“What can I offer someone who is well-known or more famous than I am?”
Below are solutions to the above question and how to get noticed.
In the era of the Internet, we are all media companies and publishers. Leverage that little-used but highly effective strategy in connecting with the A-listers. One would be hard-pressed to find any top business executive or celebrity who would agree to a half-hour meeting to share career advice with a total stranger but thanks to the democratisation of Media, it can as valuable for them to speak with a blogger as it would a member of the mainstream media.
If you want opportunity to knock – being able to ask targeted questions and learn from the best, then start a blog or podcast, whereby you can quickly build relationships and become known as someone who is connected.
Write about them
In the Internet era, one can often get the attention of industry leaders and celebrities without even contacting them directly. I have often mentioned someone famous or connected and either got a response thanking me or a comment retweeted. If you consistently retweet the posts of others, comment on their blogs or mention them in writing they are likely to notice.
Do them a favour
It is only human to feel impressed when someone makes a special effort on your part. Everyone knows you should give before you get but too few professional realise that but with a little ingenuity, they could be cultivating lifelong fans. If you are following someone’s Tweeter feed and they ask a question and you are able to help, take the opportunity to do so by responding. They are very likely to appreciate it.
Also think through other ways in which you can offer value. I have learned great lessons, powerful lessons in the personal feedback I get from people who have read my blogs over the years and my writing in general. When this happens, you know you have made an impression.
Make yourself interesting
Sometimes the most important part of making a connection is the personal and professional development you have already done. I once did a course called ‘Image is Everything’. The Title is a no-brainer and speaks for itself because for some people, professionals and celebrities, Image is quite literally everything. Business contacts can be made by sharing information. If you are knowledgeable in certain things that many are not so knowledgeable about, and that knowledge is something, hip, cool, unusual or a sexy hobby, it is very likely to be something you are able to share with people you wish to connect with.
Successful professionals like meeting compelling new people. In an ever crowded and noisy world, it is near impossible to stand out from the crowd. Hopefully, the above strategies can help you connect with the powerful people you want to meet.