Tuesday, October 02, 2007

11 Tips on How To Meet the Famous (and/or the Very Well-Known)

Chris Brogan has been discussing how he works with a large crowd of people who want to meet him. And he's also come up with a bunch of tips and tricks to help us all when we meet the famous, or Very Well Known (VWKs). It's fascinating to me that, even in this democratized world of blogging and social networking, our "celebritendency" takes over, and no matter what group we're involved with, we feel the need to hoist up a few members into a rarified realm.

Still, it's exciting to meet someone you only know from "mass" and/or "social" media. I've met quite a large number of celebrities, and I've had VWKs involved in some of my endeavors. The following are tips I have used - they work for me (which means I haven't caused any incidents or made a total fool of myself during any encounters.)

1. Get clear in your mind your exact purpose in meeting the VWK.
If it's to shake their hand, tell them how much you like something that's tied into him or her, and get a picture of the two of you, then full steam ahead. You'll probably be successful - I have been in the past. If it's to have a big conversation, get seated at their dinner table, sell them something, or suddenly become their best buddy in the world, it's probably better if you don't approach.

2. Wait your turn.
There will probably be a small crowd around the celeb. Don't barge in. It's ok to wait in line.

3. Realize that you're going to get maybe 30 seconds with the person, and be satisfied with that.
If you've got an idea that you think the celeb will love, don't pitch it there. Work through the people coordinating the event. They can hook you up with that well-known person's staff or assistants.

4. Watch their body language while you're chatting - especially their eyes.
I've notice that people "in the public eye" use a subtle method of moving the crowd that wants to meet them. As they finish chatting with you, their eyes will land on the next person. Don't take this as an insult. Think about how you would act (probably the same) if you had 200 people waiting in line to see you!

5. Have a closing line ready to avoid awkwardness.
The celeb might be tired, and stop talking after answering your question. If you don't have anything to say at that point, it can be disconcerting to stand there with nothing to say, as the crickets chirp in the background. This is a great point to say "You've been so nice, I'm glad to have met you. So long!" and then move off.

6. It's ok to extend your hand first for a handshake.
By all means extend your hand. With a smile. It shows confidence, and allows you to control the encounter (see above).

7. It's not ok to grab that person.
Do not grab. I repeat. Do not grab. I have never done so, and it's amazing that I have to mention this. But it does happen. If you grab you'll be viewed as a psycho, and you might be wrestled to the ground by large assistants. Or worse - that VWK may ask you to leave them alone!

8. Avoid (at all costs) trying to get their attention by calling out their name, loudly.
They are trained not to respond. And if they do respond, think: is that how you want to be remembered? By yelling their name?

9. Keep the encounter short.
Just as it's not ok to stand in Costco and snarf up all the samples, it's not ok to monopolize a celeb's time. Especially if there are people waiting behind you.

10. Try not to blubber.

Compose yourself beforehand, if you feel you're going to get too excited during the actual meeting. However, if you find yourself tongue-tied, and mess up what you say, and stammer a bit, try not to get upset. It might come across as endearing. If you can laugh at yourself, the celeb might just laugh along with you. After all, you probably won't be the first person who's gone all idiotic during the encounter. (Earlier this year, I experienced brain freeze when I was introduced to Isaac Hayes. We both survived the encounter quite well.)

11. Meet other people.

That's what you're there for, isn't it? And everyone's got a story. Somebody might even be able to partner with you. Remember that, first and foremost.
That's Charo who's got me in a headlock. She's quite delightful!

1 comment:

mattisonm said...

all of the above, true, true, true. take it from the man who's met wynonna, dionne warwick, and, most recently, ms. joanne woodward - just to name a few.