8 Strategies for Meeting and Connecting with VIPs

The VIP process is a time-tested, tried and true way to get in front of the right people. Here are eight tips that will have you making connections like never before.

The “what is vips” is a term that you may have heard before. The “8 Strategies for Meeting and Connecting with VIPs” will help you meet and connect with VIPs.

Note from the editor: This is a guest post by John Corcoran.

Consider yourself in an elevator for a moment. The CEO of your huge multi-national corporation has just walked through the doors. It’s just you and him right now.

One of you takes his own aircraft to work, while the other carries his own bag lunch. You’ve never had the opportunity to meet your CEO before, and here is your chance.

So, what’s next? Do you have a racing heart? Do your hands begin to perspire? Do you struggle to say a few words of greeting?

Stress, as Brett and Kate pointed out last year, may have a significant impact on a man’s capacity to perform in high-risk situations. That excellent article highlighted how psychologically stressful events may result in a significant loss of mental and physical ability.

High-risk, life-or-death circumstances are the most common sorts of settings in which this phenomena happens. Your heart doesn’t have to race or your mental and physical abilities to break down unless you’re gazing down the barrel of a rifle or trapped by a grizzly bear. When your life isn’t on the line, but your job or professional future is, as in the hypothetical elevator meeting mentioned above, this phenomena may and does occur.

If you’ve had an experience like the elevator, you may have had some of these symptoms. Perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to talk with or be in the presence of incredibly powerful or renowned people, such as a movie star, a CEO, a Senator, or even a President. In such scenario, you may have felt your hands sweat or your pulse race as a consequence of being in the company of individuals who have distinguished themselves via their accomplishments. You may have even gotten “tunnel vision,” a condition that happens in the warrior color code’s state gray.

If you’ve had a couple of these symptoms, you’re aware that they might be a huge roadblock for your job or company. It will be an issue if you start sweating heavily and stutter answers to simple inquiries every time you are around your company’s owner, high-level managers, or key customers if you are a career-motivated person who wants to rise up the ladder. If you own your own company, you won’t last long if you start mixing up your words every time you talk with prospective customers or strategic partners.

In this essay, I’ll explain how to manage this sort of tension so that you can connect with practically any VIP on a more real and intimate level rather than coming across as a sweaty, blubbering fool. I’ll also offer a few low-pressure methods to meet VIPs, whether they’re from your local community or sector, a celebrity, a corporate executive, or the CEO of a huge corporation.

 

Of course, how you approach each VIP may vary depending on the situation, but these innovative ideas should provide you some basic ideas on how to approach key individuals who can help your career or company advance.

The Three Principles for Reducing Stress Caused by Meetings with VIPs

Vintage victorian illustration 3 gentlemen talking discussing.It’s vital to distinguish between the psychological stress caused by contacts with VIPs and the psychological stress caused by fear of death or harm. VIP-motivated tension arises when you are aware of a person’s celebrity, power, influence, or achievement. Although you may be dismissed by your own company’s CEO or your own supervisor, there is typically no physical danger to you. (Unless you’re a supermodel’s personal assistant, in which case you’re on your own.)

As a result, the key to reducing tension is to convince your mind that your meeting is simply another regular human connection with someone who does not have significant renown, power, or influence. Here are three guidelines that should help you handle stress while dealing with VIPs:

Act as though you have a place here. Because of their rank and/or renown, VIPs and celebrities are accustomed to having individuals around them who appear uneasy, uncomfortable, or fidgety. It will be noticed if you can conceal that feeling and simply behave as if nothing is out of the norm. Isn’t it easier said than done? But it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you behave as if being in the VIP’s company is completely normal, you’ll be more likely to fit in, which means they’ll treat you like a normal, human being rather than an outsider.

Vintage black white illustration businessmen talking back patio casual.

One approach to achieve this is to inhibit or slow down your grin impulse, which is especially important if you are the kind of person who smiles fast. Author Leil Lowndes discussed his findings on what tactics assist outsiders integrate in with new communities in his book How to Talk to Anyone.

According to Lowndes, if you want to give the sense that you belong, you should grin slower. “First, take a second to look at the other person’s face. Pause. He writes, “Soak up their identity.” “Then grin a huge, loving, responsive smile that spills over your face and into your eyes.” According to Lowndes, the wait lends one’s personality a richer, deeper, and more authentic cachet. Those who grin right away are more likely to be viewed as a touch too eager, and hence as outsiders.

First and foremost, provide value. VIPs, celebrities, rock star CEOs, high-ranking politicians, and even well-known bloggers all have one thing in common: almost everyone they encounter wants something from them. Consider how you’d feel if your life were like that: you’d be always on the lookout for the slightest hint of a gold-digger. As a consequence, VIPs often surround themselves with individuals who do not expect anything in return.

 

Asking a VIP whether they can “pick their brain” is one of the worst things you can do. Even the description makes it seem like you’re getting a lobotomy. When you ask whether you can pick the brain of someone who isn’t a close friend, you’re obviously indicating that you’re looking for value rather than giving it.

Offering something of value to a VIP may help you stand out even more, particularly if it’s something as easy as a restaurant recommendation, a gym tip, vacation advise, or a Netflix recommendation. The proposal will be welcomed, and it will demonstrate that you are human, compassionate, and not just driven by your own desires.

Make sure you’ve done your homework ahead of time. If you know ahead of time that you will have the chance to talk with a VIP, you should take advantage of it. The LinkedIn blog provides some wonderful tips on how to use their website to study VIPs:

Review the person’s LinkedIn profile extensively before reaching out to them, especially if they are a VIP. Take note of whatever you have in common with this individual, as well as any recent changes in his or her work or status updates that may provide you with material for your outreach. Doing your study will boost your confidence and guarantee that you don’t make any major blunders (such as asking the guy about his experience working at a firm he just left).

Because you’ll be able to find out interests in common or shared connections if you do your study ahead of time, you’ll have a more meaningful and natural discussion about a topic you both care about. The less natural the dialogue, the less likely you are to suffer from cognitive or movement impairment.

Methods of Approach: 8 Ingenious Ways to Meet VIPs

Vintage important businessmen shaking hands meeting outside train.

Even if you can control your stress arousal while in the company of a VIP, the difficulty of actually meeting them is a further barrier that commonly prevents non-VIPs (like you and me) from bonding. Naturally, the greater the VIP’s position and the busier they are, the more difficult it will be to get a piece of their time.

Even if you have little to no celebrity or status, you may still meet practically any VIP. Even though I didn’t attend an Ivy League school, am not famous, and don’t come from a well-connected family, I’ve managed to meet two Presidents and several high-level CEOs and celebrities throughout my lifetime.

I’ve seen folks who were as calm as a cucumber around Presidents, behaving as if chatting with the head of the free world was nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve also seen folks melt like butter as a result of the vasoconstriction described by Brett in Condition Black. (I’d want to claim I’ve always been in the first group, but the fact is that I’m usually in the center.)

 

The good news is as follows: Because of the web’s increased openness and transparency, there are more possibilities than ever to meet a celebrity, influential politician, movie star, or anybody else. There are other tried-and-true methods for meeting significant individuals that may seem dated but are nonetheless effective.

Here are eight unique approaches to meeting practically any VIP:

1. Conduct an interview with them

Elvis being interviewed by reporters.

A easy approach is to request an interview. You may do interviews with VIPs for a newsletter piece, a guest blog post, a podcast, or a post on your own site.

If you do decide to pursue this method, the bigger the newspaper or website in which you will publish the better. If you wish to interview a really high-ranking official, strive to publish the piece in the biggest feasible newspaper.

By simply selecting a relevant and topical subject to write about and contacting them to be featured in the article, I’ve been able to interview a lot of writers and businesses I love.

When you request an interview, offer to do it over the phone or over Skype, keep it brief, and transcribe it. This will save your interviewee time, which they will much appreciate. Offer to go to them if you do need to interview in person.

2. Compose a Personal Letter

Vintage military soldier writing letter at desk.

It’s impossible to go wrong with a genuine and appreciative letter requesting a meeting or a quick answer. At the very least, it won’t take up much of your time to give it a go.

Christine Comaford was a young company CEO in the early 1990s when she sent Steve Jobs a sincere letter asking a five-minute face-to-face meeting. She followed up since she hadn’t received an answer. Not just once, but several times. She eventually got her chance after making 12 phone calls to Jobs’ secretary and sending 7 letters through FedEx. Finally, Jobs agreed to a 5-minute one-on-one meeting with Comaford, which extended into 45 minutes. The passionate letter convinced Jobs, albeit the persistence didn’t hurt.

3. Attend a meeting at a conference

Vintage gathering conference back of people's heads.

Almost every well-known VIP will give a public speech at some point throughout the year, usually at various conferences and group gatherings. Unless the VIP you wish to meet is a hermit, attending one of these speaking events is an excellent method to meet them.

A VIP who has just finished giving a speech is more likely to interact with audience members because their adrenaline is pumping and they are hungry for feedback.

4. Purchase Their Time

Vintage businessman at desk in suit talking on phone

Clarity.Fm, for example, allows you to purchase time by the minute to chat with VIPs over the phone. You may, for example, pay to speak with AppSumo creator Noah Kagan ($16.67/minute), venture investor Brad Feld ($8.33/minute), or Udemy.com co-founder Gagan Biyani ($1.67).

Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a Shark Tank star, is also on the list, albeit at $166.67 per minute, or $10,000 per hour, you’d best be a quick talker. Purchasing courtside tickets at a Mavericks game would most likely be less expensive.

 

5. Seek for mutual acquaintances.

Three friends standing at a place and taking to each other.

You’d be shocked how few degrees of separation there are between you and a well-known celebrity. Shaquille O’Neal, for example, is a 3rd degree link according to my LinkedIn page. That’s fantastic; maybe I’ll invite him to my next Halloween party.

You can ask your LinkedIn contacts to refer you to their connections, and so on, so you might theoretically connect with a high-level VIP this way. You don’t want to misuse this method by putting too much pressure on your contacts.

6. Bestow an award on them

Vintage woman receiving award plaque smiling.

Honoring VIPs with an award or other acknowledgment for their service or success is another fantastic chance to meet and get to know them. When Joe Sweeney lived in Wisconsin in the early 1990s, he adopted this strategy. When a young Brett Favre became the Green Bay Packers’ new quarterback, Sweeney’s organization, the Wisconsin Sports Authority, chose to honor him with the Wisconsin Sportsman of the Year award.

Sweeney persuaded Favre to attend the dinner and used it as a chance to get to know him better, as he described in his biography, Networking Is a Contact Sport. They got along swimmingly. Sweeney and Favre agreed to combine up and start a new jointly-owned sports marketing firm a few months later. Imagine this: one minute you’re persuading a group you’re a part of to bestow an award on someone you’d want to meet, and the next you’re doing business with them. Not a horrible outcome.

7. Figure out where they congregate.

Vintage peoples sitting in the hall.

You have the opportunity to meet the world’s wealthiest guy. Warren Buffett’s favorite restaurant is Gorat’s Steak House in Omaha, where he was born and raised. If you reside in Omaha, you’re likely to run into him for lunch from time to time.

Other VIPs may have their own preferred hangout spots. You could do a lot worse than turning up every now and again in the hopes of a fortuitous encounter.

8. Make a video of something they’re passionate about.

Vintage early 1900s film director with huge cameras on set.

Finally, making a video devoted to a subject they care about is a terrific method to meet VIPs and for them to get to know you. You may, for example, do a video review of their latest book or a video testimonial for a product they offer that you like.

The procedure is straightforward: film a brief (less than two minutes) video of something that matters to that individual, and then send it to them by email, social media, or other short communication.

No matter how important or busy they are, most people spend some time on the internet, and as a result, they are certain to stumble across it in some form.

However, I’ve heard Warren Buffett is a bit of a luddite when it comes to technology, so if you want to attempt this trick on him, you may have to put it on VHS tape and send it.

 

Alternatively, stick to the steakhouse.

What are some of your ideas for interacting with VIPs? Please share them in the comments section below.

What are some of your ideas for interacting with VIPs? Please share them in the comments section below.

Former Clinton White House Writer John Corcoran is an attorney. You can get his free 52-page book, How to Build a Network Filled with VIPs and Top Performers in 14 Days, if you’re interested in learning more about how to connect with VIPs.