We all want to get advice, pitch our ideas, ask for a job, or otherwise meet someone we admire. But chances are, that person is out of your orbit. So what are the secrets to scoring that important meeting? While everyone is different, and there are no guarantees, here’s five techniques that should help you make the connections you need:
1. Make your network work for you. Remember the “6 degrees of separation” idea? People you want to meet are often closer than you think. At least once a week, make a few calls around your personal network and inquire about people you should meet. Have them make suggestions and ask if they’ll arrange the meeting. You’ll be surprised how fast your personal relationships will grow and eventually include the people you want to meet. Plus, a personal recommendation is always a great way to connect.
2. Have something to offer. Successful people get asked for hundreds of meetings, so you need to stand out. Stop thinking about you and start thinking about them. What can I do for them? What could I bring to the table? Come up with a reason he or she would benefit by meeting you. (And your sparkling personality shouldn’t be the only answer.)
3. Show them some love. Do they have a blog or social media presence? Respond to their social media posts in a thoughtful way. Comment on their blog. The simple truth is, I’m far more likely to take a meeting with someone who’s an active part of my blog community and who I know is in sync with my thinking. Do they have a favorite charity? Donate. Show up at some of their charity events. Let them know you have similar ideas, values, and priorities.
4. Keep it short. Dr. Larry Poland has been working as a spiritual advisor in the entertainment industry for decades, and as a result has strong personal relationships with men and women at the very top of the industry. One of the biggest reasons for his success is simple. The first time, he only asks for a 10 minute meeting. After all, who can’t spare a mere 10 minutes? And once he gets in the door, no matter how well the meeting is going he always finishes in 10 minutes. That tells the leader Larry respects his time, and guess what? He almost always gets invited back.
5. Finally, let that person know what you want. You won’t believe how many people call my office for an appointment, and when my assistant asks what they’d like to meet with me about, they refuse to say. Trust me, if you won’t share the purpose of the meeting to my assistant, you won’t get in – period. Obviously, once they know the reason for the meeting some won’t be interested. But I can guarantee you, finding out on the phone is far better than getting in the door and finding out face to face. You can be sure they’ll never have you back because you’ve wasted their time – and time is one of their most valuable assets.
Scoring that important meeting isn’t impossible, but it does take a little strategy. Focus on these five keys for your next attempt, and let me know if it helps.