I wish I could say I failed to research people before I met them and I lost out on an opportunity because of it, but it’s not true. I may have missed pieces of information about a person that, hindsight 20/20, I could have used in conversation with them (like telling Seth Godin I’ve seen a photo of his action figure riding a pink angry unicorn), but typically I’m able to bring up two points in every conversation.
1) Something they’ve done that I admire
2) Something of theirs that we can both connect on
These two points are essential to match making with journalists, PR teams and clients, as well as someone you’re going to have coffee with.
When you’re applying to an agency or any job, you do your research on the company: their history, their clients, their goals… anything and everything you can find online or in their brochures (are brochures still a thing?).
Why would you treat a journalist you’re pitching to, a client you want to do business with, a friend of a friend you’re meeting for the first time with any differently?
A journalist will be more likely to cover your story if you start by acknowledging a piece they have written (check box #1) and how you two both love the book she referenced in that story (check box #2).
Not only do you establish a connection with the person, you add credibility to yourself, you show you care because you wouldn’t take the time to research and prepare if you didn’t, and you build trust with that (now) special someone.
The twist is the two check box process works to your advantage in another unique way. It shows you whether or not you want to work and connect with this reporter, that agency, or this guy’s friend.
If they’ve created nothing remarkable and you can’t find a node to connect on, are they a person you want to be investing in?
Stay Positive & 7 Billion People In This World, You’ve Got The Right To Be Picky