-Scared to Cold Call
Dear Scared to Cold Call:
There are many different mediums and places you can meet work contacts: conferences, LinkedIn, restaurants, you name it. I’m not going to go into those, because I think the secret to networking is the same no matter the medium.
And the big secret is not really that much of a secret at all: be genuine, be polite and ASK for what you want!
Here’s a story about how I recently did some networking with great results…
First, a little personal background: I’m a Disney nut, as in I'm an annual passholder at Disneyland. I visit several times a year and typically visit Walt Disney World every other year or so. You get the picture.
A month back, I was hunting online for some Disneyland pictures. I discovered an amazing photography blog, Tours Departing Daily, which you have to see to believe. The pictures use High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging which was new to me.
I had recently picked up photography as a hobby and purchased my first digital SLR camera (although I knew little about this type of camera at the time). I sent an email to the Tours Departing Daily blog owners sharing my enthusiasm for Disneyland and admiration of their photography. I also asked if they would be willing to spend some time with me during my upcoming visits to the park and show me how to use the camera.
After a few email exchanges, we set up a date and a time. Matthew, Michaela and Kevin - who run the blog - spent two and a half hours walking me around the park, teaching me how to use my camera and explaining the process of making HDR images.
So why do I share all of this with you? Because I did nothing more than to be genuine, polite and ASK for what I wanted. And I achieved my goal - and more.
It’s a very straightforward process:
- Let the person know how you found them (blog, etc.)
- Acknowledge their expertise/knowledge
- Outline what you have in common with them
- Make a request
The worst that will happen is you’ll get a “No,” and you’ll be no worse off than when you started.
There’s a quote that I like by Wallace Stevens. He said, “After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future of the world hangs.”
I’m not sure of his context, but for me it means that – if there’s something I really want – I’m going to keep asking because after that final no, there’s eventually a yes.