By Bigg Success Staff
05-21-08

Personal Branding

indy_race 

Why are race car drivers able to drive so fast? Because they’re all professionals who have been trained to drive their cars that way. So they can pretty much count on every other driver to behave in a certain way.

If you want to move up fast in your career, you need to learn how other people rose to their position. The best way to do that is to get to know them so you can find out first hand how they did it.

So how do you get to know these movers and shakers? Network your way to them!

How do you do that? Here’s a six-step plan to meet the right people.

#1 – Who are they?
You may know this already. If you don’t, it’s the first thing you’ll want to do – determine who you should get to know. Who has succeeded at what you want to do? Who are the people at the top of your chosen craft?

#2 – Do some research
What can you learn about the person you want to meet? What has been written about them? Have they written anything about themselves? What is their particular area of expertise? What are their concerns about the industry? Where do they see the opportunities? What are their strategies? How did they get where they are?

The internet is a wonderful tool for finding the answers to these questions. But don’t stop there – check out trade magazines and other industry sources that may not be fully archived on line.

#3 – Who do you know who knows them?
Once again, the internet comes into play. Are they on any social media sites? If so, do you have any common connections? If this doesn’t work, ask the people you know. Be patient and keep networking.

#4 – Ask for an introduction

Once you find someone who knows them, ask them to introduce you to the person you want to meet. This can be done in any number of ways, but most likely it will be in some form of electronic communication. Of course, if you can meet them in person (e.g. at a conference), that’s even better.

Bonus tip #1: Industry functions are a great way to meet movers and shakers. They’re leading discussions or are participating on panels about the important issues faced by your industry. Approach them after the session and exchange business cards.

#5 – Follow-up

Now you’re ready to contact them. Here’s what you want to do with this initial communication …

Ask them a good question.

Make it a question about something in which you know they’re interested. Ask for their advice. Keep it short. Make sure it doesn’t require a lengthy answer, but does beg for something more than a “yes” or “no”. By doing this, you start a conversation that can be ongoing.

#6 – Impress them
When they respond to you, the most important thing you can do is to thank them for their help. Then give it some time and report back on what you’ve learned by taking their advice or studying the issue you questioned some more.

Once again, keep it short. And ask them another question to keep building the relationship.

Bonus tip #2: If there is something you learn they’re interested in
(e.g. their hobby) and you find an interesting article, pass it on to them.
And keep it at that … no business on this go-around.

Want to be a mover and shaker? Then get to know the movers and shakers in your field.

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