I meet a lot of interesting people on the job, in my career, at conventions, and of course, reading books. Some of them are famous, known professionals, and otherwise largely cooler than I am – or at least richer and more famous. But usually cooler.
Now when you meet these people, you may want to ask them for advice or information. However you feel scared, concerned, and don't want to mess it up.
Scared aside, meeting and learning from people who have been successful is one of the major ways to learn to be a success. So if you don't swallow your fear and contact them, you will loose out.
In fact I usually find such people are often glad to help out if approached properly – I've corresponded with two major authors of employment books, several website publishers, and a life coach with a decade plus career in the last few months. I've learned a lot from them, and they were to a person helpful and glad to give me advice.
There are two major parts of contacting people:
Here's the trick, you find a medium you can contact them by effectively without being invasive or obnoxious, AND a medium you feel comfortable with. Focusing on one or the other can lead to problems of being intrusive or just plain uncomfortable – but keeping both factors in mind is a key to success.
Usually I find email is a great universal medium to reach people first, then I may go use the phone depending. Either way, it lets me contact them comfortably – comfortably for all involved.
People with secretaries also make things a bit easier – yes the secretary is there to screen calls, but also can be a point of contact as long as you're polite and perhaps properly persistent.
I always meet people worried they'll come off as stupid, and drooling fans, as incompetent, or as annoying when they meet famous people. Here's a tip – if you're worried about it, you're FAR less likely to do it. Its the people who DON'T think they can be annoying that are often, well, the most annoying.
Just approach said person in a way that's properly respectful – don't overdo it, and don't underdo it. Be polite, be honest, and talk to them.
Finally, you might as well swallow your fears and start talking to people. No matter how scared you are, you might as well keep trying until you get over those fears.
So pick your method and watch your behavior and go for it. There's a wealth of knowledge – and knowledgeable people – out there. You may even make a friend.
– Steven Savage