In 2007, Tim Ferriss, angel investor and author of the Four-Hour Workweek, challenged students in a “High-Tech Entrepreneurship” class to contact high-profile celebrities and CEO’s…
… And get answers for questions they’ve always wanted to ask. The winner, who contacted the most hard-to-reach person with the most intriguing question, received a round-trip plane ticket anywhere in the world.
Interesting idea, isn’t it?
Imagine making contact with an “impossible-to-reach” person and asking them a burning question. Maybe making a connection, and building a relationship over time.
Perhaps getting an intro to a place you’ve always wanted to work… or even working for the person you contacted!
I’ll tell you how they did it in a minute, as well as how Tim Ferriss himself does it, but first…
Is Tim Ferriss Crazy?
Why did he offer a round-trip ticket – an amazing (and expensive) prize – to the winner of his little contest?
“I believe that success can be measured in the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have. I felt that if I could help students overcome the fear of rejection with cold-calling and cold e-mail, it would serve them forever.
– Tim Ferriss
Okay Tim, makes sense. Overcome your fear, and do something that will move you forward in the process.
The Lazy Networker’s Guide To Moving Up
The “Tim Ferriss Technique,” which he uses himself and his students applied in this contest is coming up…
First, here are five tips I would apply today if I were participating in the contest. Here’s the lazy networker’s guide to moving up:
1. Warm Them Up
Follow them on social media, and start commenting on and liking their stuff. Find a way to make an impression.
If you’re a writer, you could also write a blog post mentioning them, and then send a simple tweet letting them know.
2. Keep It Concise
First of all, be realistic. This person is incredibly busy, and they’re not going to respond to a long email telling your life story.
So, keep any contact you have with them short, and to the point. Honor their time, and you might just get some of it.
3. Remember WIIFM
WIIFM = What’s In It For Me?
Make your communication all about them right from the start. Think about how you can add value to their lives with something interesting or helpful, and go from there.
4. Keep It Light
Bring a sense of humor into every contact with you have them, and you’ll not only be more interesting, you’ll be more likeable. And with that, you’ll have a better chance of building a relationship.
5. Find Common Ground
This could be a passion for anything from a sports team to a food group. Whatever it is, find something that you have in common, and share that. It’ll warm up the conversation from the start.
The “Tim Ferriss Technique”
“I participate in this contest every day,” said Ferriss. “I do what I always do: find a personal e-mail if possible, often through their little-known personal blogs, send a two- to three-paragraph e-mail which explains that you are familiar with their work, and ask one simple-to-answer but thought-provoking question in that e-mail related to their work or life philosophies. The goal is to start a dialogue so they take the time to answer future e-mails – not to ask for help. That can only come after at least three or four genuine e-mail exchanges.”
And that’s how it’s done. So think about who you’d like to reach out to and what you’d like to ask them, and then build up some courage and try it out.
If you’d like more interesting and effective job-seeking techniques, check out this free video I put together alongside my mentor containing three powerful and tangible things you can start doing today to get your dream job.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
About the author
Ryan Niessen is a keynote speaker and co-creator of The Gateway Method: a simple, proven way to gain inside access to the world’s best employers and get your dream job. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.