20 Tips on How to Approach People


in Ask Better Questions, The Power of Relationships

This week’s blog is in response to the blog topic request from Darian.

Here’s Darian’s request: “….I was actually thinking a similar thing today on set with producers, directors, etc. who I want to introduce myself to and don’t know exactly who they are. What are good ways to approach higher ups and to make them remember you without seeming like I actually am below them?”

Thanks for the request Darian. Here goes. Hope this helps!

“Life is like a combination lock; your job is to find the right numbers in the right order, so you can have anything you want.” Brian Tracy

Practice, study and master the concepts below and you will be able to successful approach anyone anywhere:

  1. It all starts with a winning mindset. “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson. Believe this and act accordingly. Not arrogant, but confident.
  2. Dress the part. There’s rarely (if ever) a penalty for being the best dressed. Whether we admit it or not, we do judge books by their covers.
  3. Realize your fear of rejection is unwarranted. If they blow you off, ignore you, don’t have time or you are (what you consider) unsuccessful in any way you have defaulted back to the status quo. Nothing lost!
  4. Be someone who knows everyone. Everyone wants to know the big wigs but how many people actually take time to get to know everyone on first name basis (this includes doormen, receptionists, assistants…etc). Have this mindset!
  5. Be unconventional and memorable. One simple thing I do is when people ask me, “How are you doing?” I always reply with a big smile and say, “Any better and I’d be worried” or “Somewhere between incredible and spectacular!” These responses often generate a smile or laugh and open the doors for easy conversations nearly everywhere I go. They’re yours to try – what have you got to lose?
  6. More energy!
  7. Eye contact when you speak.
  8. Be persistent without being annoying.
  9. Be yourself. Don’t pretend to know things you don’t.
  10. Make their life better is some way by having talked to you, even if it’s just sharing a smile and/or a quick compliment.
  11. Do your homework before approaching them. Finding common ground of hobbies, where they grew up or something they’re (secretly) passionate about.
  12. Offer to help them in someway (but avoid “sucking up”)
  13. Avoid tie down and dead end questions. Easily break the ice in a manner that any reasonable person would answer your question. As a quick reference and starting point on asking questions, I would definitely check out last Tuesday’s blog about “How to ask better questions”
  14. Think of your approach and desired conversations in multiple bit sized conversations. What do you have to say to have the conversation go that direction?
  15. Plan what you are going to say in advance.
  16. Listen closely for cues in the conversation to research and/or mention in future conversations
  17. Walk away sooner than you think you should. Avoid overstaying your welcome. Ever have a date and couldn’t wait to see the person again? That is the emotion you should try and generate. Leave them wanting more.
  18. Take control and end the conversation with a phrase such as, “I’d love to hear more about that next time we chat.” “I have something I want to show you but I have to run….next time.”
  19. Follow up the initial conversations with hand written cards, emails, a nice gesture or a phone calls that simply says, “nice meeting you.”
  20. Smile :)

How do you get better at anything? Practice. The more you do these, the more comfortable you’ll get. Practice. This is what works for me. More than anything else, find what works best for you.

Good luck – if you try any of these out would love to hear your feedback and suggestions of what to add to this list or what worked (or didn’t) for you. Also if you enjoyed this blog, please pay it forward at share it with two people you think would enjoy it!

Until next week. More energy! More focus! More success!

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  • Darian Pearlmutter

    Joe! Was with the family and hadn’t checked email in two days, thank you so so much for answering my question and taking the time to post this blog entry!

    Now on to my comments. These are all so great i can definitely check off a few that I know I already do but you have just given me ideas and a new checklist of things to try. Film industry is shaky so I’ll need to be innovative with my approaches but absolutely great new things to try! THANK YOU!

    Until next post have a great week!

    • http://www.thejoesweeney.com thejoesweeney

      You’re welcome – glad you enjoyed it! What are your best techniques to approach people Darian? Any tips for the readers?

  • Justin

    I’m not good with social communication i’m to shy and i get to nervous i tried but i’m not very good at meeting people eye contact freaks me out

    • Mrs. Always Right

      well, maybe the people around you aren’t just worth talking to.. what I know is, just be the person you are and try not to over-think. you only get to live once..

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