Fangirling. Understandable if you stumble across Jude Law, and subsequently lose all ability to speak in the face of the actor who gave you a serious weakness for blonde Englishmen from his performance in The Holiday. Looking like you’ve been hit over the head with a brick or being reduced to gibberish is relatively normal in such a circumstance. Not so much, when meeting your industry hero.
It’s a bit of a Catch 22. You are meeting or speaking with a person you greatly respect for their work and career, but you also have to come across as professional, savvy and worthy of their time. Enthusiasm is all well and good, but there’s a fine line between genuine and ridiculous. Saying for example, “oh my god I want to BE you” could be met with a laugh and raised eyebrow at best, and a very quick goodbye at worst. Part of navigating your early career and trying to figure out what path suits you best is constant networking. It’s not unlikely that one day you will connect with someone you really want to impress, both professionally and personally. With that in mind, as part of The Nine to Five Guide, I’m sharing a few tips for meeting your industry hero without being a total fangirl.
Refresh your research– Even if you already know quite a bit about the person, look back at some of their standout achievements. Find out what areas of your interest overlap with their experience. That way the conversation you have will be relevant, as opposed to a word vomit of how much you admire X, Y, Z.
Ask intelligent questions– Speaking to this person is not just a matter of checking off a bucket list moment; they are a potential fount of information. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity to get their thoughts because you were too starstruck. Show thoughtful consideration, and some of your own background when asking them about advice, or their experience. Demonstrating your competence and personality will stick out far more than fawning.
Dress for success- Especially if you’re meeting them in person, your outfit should be polished and appropriate, but most importantly it should make you feel confident. Avoid shoes that you wobble in, or anything that doesn’t quite fit right. Nothing undercuts a first impression quite like constantly tugging at a hemline. If you’re simply speaking on the phone or over Skype, I still suggest getting properly dressed as it puts you in the right mood. A good outfit will help you carry out the conversation with grace and gumption.
Finishing touch– Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile afterwards. Send a thank you email, but if you have their work address, don’t be afraid to send a thank you letter as well. Writing out how much you appreciate their time on beautiful stationery leaves a positive lasting impression. Some people might say this is old fashioned, but elegant excellence is the name of the game and showing attention to detail is always a good idea. Next time you reconnect with this person, they just might remember the gesture.
It can be utterly intimidating to meet your industry hero, but if you prepare well and let your enthusiasm and competence shine through, you will be golden. A warm smile, and a firm handshake will never lead you wrong. Leave the fangirl happy-dance for your flat, where only your pet can judge you.
Photography by Samantha Chinomona 2019
Wearing: Lorna Luxe In the Style ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ Blazer Dress As Jacket, Black Long Sleeve Crop Top (Similar), Black Culottes (Similar), Cat Eye Sunglasses (Similar), Strathberry Midi Tote, Black Boots (Similar)