Watching TV isn’t being lazy… it’s research.
How do you find the person you need to talk to? What do you talk about with people you don’t meet very often? How do you remember details that make a difference in getting meetings? I learned three important techniques by watching Criminal Minds.
1. Keep files on people.
“Office of Unfettered Omniscience – how may I help you, O fortunate one?” (Penelope)
Keep a file on the people you connect with. It is amazingly helpful to remember someone’s drink or food preferences, for example. If a year goes by and you haven’t connected with them, it show that extra bit of caring to suggest going out for a caramel latte instead of saying “let’s get coffee.”
We respond to others that remember details. Those details tell us the other person was listening to us when we were talking. Mentioning those details can make a huge impression and helps your requests stand out. Dentists and doctors do this. They write down some facts about you in your file, and then when they meet with you they have something personal to talk about with you. They do it because it really works.
2. Make notes during and after meetings.
“I don’t believe that intelligence can be accurately quantified, but I do have an IQ of 187, an eidetic memory, can read 20,000 words per minute… Yes, I’m a genius.” (Reid)
I try to write notes after any meeting. Jotting down preferences and facts (like four older siblings, drink preference, etc). It does take a few minutes. Others may have moved on to other meetings, or gotten in their car and left the appointment. But by staying and writing a few notes, you will have saved some critical facts and information that may have a lasting effect.
3. Track down all leads.
“ You’ve got a problem. Deadbolt’s the number one password crack-resistant software out there. You’re gonna have to get inside this guy’s head to get the password.” (Garcia)
“I thought I was calling the office of Supreme Genius.” (Morgan)
When someone mentions a person that may be able to help you or a person that could use your help… follow up on that lead. I once followed four leads in a row. I called one person, and we spoke for 10 minutes. I asked them if there was someone else I should reach out to. They gave me a name. I found a number, called them, and we spoke for 10 minutes. I did the same process over and, after four leads, I had a meeting scheduled with the last person. What was the conclusion? The last person offered me a job before I had even filled out an application.
If I would have stopped at the third lead, I wouldn’t have gotten the job. Were the conversations with those first three contacts interesting? Not really. It was more of an exercise in “finding the right person.” But following up on all the leads produced a happy ending in about the length of an episode of “Criminal Minds.”
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