High profile leaders in your area may be more approachable than you think. Plan what you say and ask them something that will serve both you and your audience.
Do you hold yourself back from asking for something, because the person is high profile?
Do you figure that they don’t want to hear from you, that you’re not important enough?
Do you assume they’ll say no?
In truth, none of those things may actually be true.
I’ve been doing bold things these days. At a conference with A-list speakers, I approached one of them to ask if they’d be a guest on an upcoming podcast.
In the past, I would keep my distance, listening to their talk, learning from afar. It was partly that I was respectful of the many demands on their time and attention. But mostly, it was fear.
What if they didn’t want to talk to me?
What if they said no?
Both are possible, though I’ve been finding that it’s actually not often the case.
Even A-listers are people. They want connection as much as I do, as much as you do. And connecting around something they love and feel passionate about is a great way to make contact.
The first time I tried this, it went so well, I got even bolder. I started asking more often.
At a recent conference, I asked every high-profile speaker to be a guest on the Impact podcast. Two of them said yes right away (yay!) and the other two asked me to get in touch to find out more. So a 50% success rate right off the bat, and 50% possible.
That’s a pretty good return on investment!
Making connections with people who are leaders in your field is incredibly valuable. Not only will you have knowledge you didn’t have before, but you also never know where the connection will lead.
Plus, being with the energy of high achievers helps you move your own bar up a little (or maybe a lot).
So how do you make these connections? Here are several strategies:
1. Seize the moment. When you’re energized by their presentation is a great time to approach them. It will help you push past the fear. Your enthusiasm will be an energetic bridge when you are speaking to them.
2. Talk to them when they’re not already besieged by a crowd. If you can, find them right after the presentation. At a recent conference, I got up right after their talk and went to where they were likely to emerge. I turned out to be right, and I was there before anyone else. A book signing can also be a good place to connect.
3. Synch with their energy. Right after they give a talk, they are likely energized too and connected with the crowd. You are one of that group, so make the most of it.
4. Be respectful of their time. Get to the point quickly. Don’t tell a long story, your history, your bio even. Distill it down to the essentials they need to know to consider your request.
5. Ask for something that is in service of the impact that you’ll have in the world. When a high profile person sees that what you are asking will benefit other people too, they’re more likely to consider it. Also, it will be easier for you to ask. You’re not asking only for yourself. You’re asking so you can offer something to others too, to serve.
6. End with asking what is the best way to get in touch. Get the name of their point person, an assistant or other contact. It will help you personalize any follow-up.
Still holding back? I don’t blame you – I did for a long time. The fear factor hasn’t gone away.
You don’t have to let that stop you.
Experiment with channeling some of your anxiety into the energy of enthusiasm.
And if they say no, or don’t want to talk to you?
Focus on the positive in terms of what that might mean.
You get to choose the meaning.
It doesn’t have to mean that you don’t count, that you’re not important.
It can simply mean that they are overwhelmed, distracted, and have other priorities at the moment, like the rest of us. They may be great at setting boundaries around their particular focus at the time. That may shift, so you may be more successful another time.
All of those things are not about you and your value. It’s not a rejection of you, even though it may feel like it. Put your energy into finding a positive meaning, rather than running yourself down.
Be smart about your approach. Start with the strategies here, and you’ll increase your likelihood of success.
Making connections with leaders in your area is a great way to learn and grow, and worth the potential negative response. What you ask for may provide a great service to your audience.
Connecting with high profile leaders will show you that they are also people, after all is said and done.
That realization may help inspire you to become a high-profile leader yourself, one with more positive influence and impact.