TIPS FOR STUDENTS
The three words you should not start any correspondence or introduce yourself with.
YOU NEED TO GET PERSONAL
If you want to get somebody's attention, address them personally. Nobody likes to be called “Dear Sir” and read a form letter that you know thousands of other people have received.
The underlying message of a letter like that is: “I’m too lazy to find out any information about you and your company, so I’m just going to blast the same bland impersonal letter to everybody and pray that somebody responds.”
That's why you should put a person's name in the subject line of your e-mails and do the homework on whoever you are writing to or meeting with.
THE BEST WAY TO FOLLOW UP WITH ANYBODY WITHOUT BEING ANNOYING
Set up a Google Alert with the person's name in quotation marks (this tells Google you are looking for results with that exact name).
When the person is mentioned online -- it could be an interview, a listing, or an announcement -- you will receive an alert.
That is the perfect excuse to drop a note to the person you want to stay in touch with, mentioning what you saw (ideally quoting it), and perhaps congratulating them or asking a question about what you read.
YOU HAVE 3 SECONDS TO GET SOMEBODY'S ATTENTION
Assume that anybody you reach out to is juggling many things at the same time and their attention span is very short. So it's imperative to grab their attention in the very first words you write or sentences that you say so they will read/listen to the next sentence.
If you are bored by or hate the first page of a book, you will stop reading immediately. It's the same thing with your communication -- it has to be instantly compelling and interesting from the start.
How I Built This with Guy Raz": Excellent interviews with some of the world's greatest entrepreneurs. Listen for not only inspiration, but to hear how people started with so little and found their way into a career and business.
Laurel Touby interview on "Persistence 360": A woman with no means from Florida shares great advice and a fantastic story about how she started an online company on a shoestring that was bought for $23 million.