How to invite industry experts for an interview has always been of special interest to those who want to grow their own expertise in a given area. I remember wondering this same thing years ago, but only for about two seconds. I jumped in with both feet and started asking.
I rarely got a ‘no’, but I didn’t do it properly either. I had no framework to go by, so that is what I’ll now supply to you.
The first thing to know is that no one person is THE expert in any industry. There are millions of people who are influential and impactful, but not one person has every answer. The world is full of very smart people willing to share their knowledge with you.
WHO TO INVITE
While most people think of interviewing top leaders to draw attention and gain more popularity, the real question you want to ask yourself is, “What does this person know that I (or my audience) would like to know and learn from?”.
Being a top leader in any industry doesn’t make them immune to being rude, defensive or even give a poor interview, so be certain you’ve asked the expert that aligns with your core values or mission.
Make a list of those you think of and those you want to learn from. Their information and experience is why you ought to interview them, not because they are high on the leadership ladder. This list will be incredibly helpful to you so that the next time someone says, ‘no’, or ignores your communication, you can keep moving forward to the next person.
REJECTION IS PART OF THE PROCESS
Expect rejection and accept it as a way of developing your skill of asking. I developed some pretty tough skin early on, but not because people rejected me. My tough skin grew because high level leaders ignored my inquiries. To not respond at all was rude in my opinion, but I also suspected that there must be a reason and I was the one in the dark.
As I began developing a better framework for my next steps, I realized that I had an entitlement mentality. I realized that I needed to take responsibility for showing up differently if I was ever going to gain attention from those I wanted to learn from.
Not every leader is sitting at a desk waiting for your email or phone call. Experts in the coaching industry rarely check their inquiry boxes. They hire others to do it for them and often have hundreds of inquiries a day. They also design specific times and requirements to decide who gets their attention and when.
CLARITY IS VITAL
Making the ask can be intimidating, but if you’re going to get anywhere you’ll need to get clear. Spending time with those who can teach you exactly what you want to know, in a very simple and clear way, are the best interviewees. The more clarity you can have during the interview, the more you’ll find traffic heading to your sites to download the replay and purchasing materials. When the interviewee you selected looks good, it benefits everyone.
HOW TO MAKE THE ‘ASK’
To begin with, do your research into what this person is currently experiencing or doing, so that you can speak to their ego first.
Lets say you want to interview Paul Misener, Amazon’s VP of global public policy, because you want to understand how using drones for package deliveries might help your customers receive your products sooner. You would:
1) Acknowledge his work. If you agree with, or admire, Mr. Misener’s desire for expanding drone technology for commercial use at Amazon then say so. This shows you appreciate his values of progress and innovation. Acknowledging is vital because everyone likes to be appreciated.
2) Show you understand his ambition. This means you need to do your research. For example; you might share that you hope the FAA approves the use of drones at Amazon after they set up their experimental sites across the country to learn how they operate. If Mr. Misener sees you have an appreciation for his work, he’ll know you’ve done your research, and may be moved by your level of interest.
3. Make the ask. For example; “Mr. Misener could I get you on the phone for 20 minutes and ask you a few questions about the use drones for commercial use? I would like to ask (insert whatever you’d like to know).”
Some leaders you will have to pay but most you won’t. People love to talk about themselves and share their knowledge or experience if they have the time. In the event you’re not certain, offer to pay them. Example, “If you charge a fee for doing interviews I will be glad to pay you for your time.”
If you use this framework you’ll strike winning interviews with the leaders in your industry. Let me know if I can help you in the future or plug you into a community of other leaders who are learners. Pick up a free copy of my latest book while you’re here!
All the best!
KellieTailored to any audience, Kellie speaks on successful head and heart connections that develop sustainable relationships and businesses.