Posts Tagged ‘stranger’

The Most Important Question to Ask When Making a New Connection is:

December 7, 2007

With whom might you suggest I speak with next?

Far from being your first question, this one must be saved for the very end of a conversation with a new contact, after you have thanked them for their time and consideration. Done gracefully, this question yields dividends nine times out of ten. It is an old trick from my time in TV news. My best leads always came from my last lead.

Remembering to make this question your very last one is a good habit to build, especially for informational interviewing. It is also a great recovery tool when a new contact simply can’t help you. Along with a “thank you,” it gives you a quick and useful getaway.

And consider this…When you call the next contact in the chain, you have a built-in introduction that makes you less of a “stranger”. You can begin with, “So-and-so suggested I reach out to you.”

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This Week’s ZoomLetter: “Pull a Finaggin”

December 7, 2007

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A quick & useful newsletter on keeping happy and productive, delivered to your inbox twice a month.

It is a pleasure to share with you the very first ZoomLetter!

I’ll kick things off with an inspiring story experienced by a recent client…

When Rob came to me for some coaching, he was looking to make a BIG career change — out of a field that felt “miserable” to him and into a “dream field” for which he had no direct experience…but lots of desire and energy. His first action plan was to make contact with someone in the new field, but the hurdle was that he didn’t know anyone who worked in this particular industry.

We were both familiar with the name of a “big player” in the field — a person we’d seen featured in the media — but it felt like a “huge reach” to Rob when I asked him if he would consider contacting this person. The industry leader went by the name Finaggin, and Rob was able to track down an e-mail address for him. It seemed like a long shot that this industry leader would open Rob’s e-mail, let alone respond, but once Rob took on the action of writing the e-mail, his desire to “take a shot” outpaced his wariness. Rob hit SEND on his computer before he could talk himself out of it. “What was the worst that could happen?” he reasoned.

Three or four uneventful days passed, and then something happened that would change Rob’s perspective on long shots.

Finaggin did one better than respond to Rob’s e-mail. He called Rob personally. Rob said he nearly fell out of his chair when he saw “Finaggin” come up on the caller-ID, but was able to compose himself enough to thank this gentleman and to get answers to some of his most burning questions from this industry leader. Finaggin spent 20-minutes that day on the phone with Rob. He shared a ton of suggestions and information with Rob. Even more than that, Finaggin gave Rob a very literal way to see that “big shots” are people just like everyone else. And just like everyone else, sometimes they make the time.

In the weeks since Finaggin’s call, Rob has let go of considering worst case scenarios, and instead has taken to considering what surprises might happen. He has upped the ante and has contacted several other well-regarded professionals in the industry. Most recently, Rob received his first offer and is making incredible headway towards pursuing his “dream field”.

Rob laughs when he thinks about how far he’s traveled past his “fear of contacting strangers”. He has even dubbed a new expression for taking a crazy shot in the dark that pays off; he calls it “pulling a Finaggin”.

One of the most rewarding parts of being a personal coach is witnessing a client take a leap that changes what seems impossible into something quite doable.

In an area in your life where reaching out to someone feels like a long shot, how might you throw caution to the wind and “pull a Finaggin”?

With cheer,

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