How to Gain the Attention of a VIP

How do you impress a VIP who doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall? The Public Speaker offers 8 tips to help you network more effectively and get noticed.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #244


In my networking workshops I am frequently asked: “Lisa, how do I gain the attention of a very important person (VIP) in my field – particularly someone I’ve never met?"

Many people are interested in upgrading their network, in fact, it's imperative to success.  However, getting to know a more senior or well-known colleague in your field isn’t always easy to do. In this episode I’ll share some ideas on how to gain the attention of and make a positive impression on someone you know and respect, but who may not know you.


In your professional and private life, there are probably people you look up to and admire. They may be experts in your field, your favorite authors, or respected podcasters.  You might think you’ll never get a chance to meet them, but in today’s landscape of online networking, it’s definitely possible and for some folks it's an important part of their career progression.  

Here are 8 tips for gaining the attention of a VIP and making a good impression:

Tip #1: Neighbor Networking

Impress one the VIP’s trusted advisors. Every VIP has people around them that support them.  The VIP trusts those people and is in regular communication with them.  Find out whom the VIP trusts and associates with, then become a fan of those people. Think of it as one level removed.  It’s much more likely you’ll be able to gain access to these folks than to the VIP.  And if you can't interact on a personal level with the support people, do some research on them, and show your enthusiasm for your shared interests.

Tip #2: Knowledge Networking

Support the VIP's online community with thoughtful responses to comments/tweets/posts. Be sure to contribute something useful and of substance, not just fluff. You can post your own questions or you can respond to the questions of the other community members. Your goal is to help the VIP reach their goal of supporting their community with resources and knowledge.  

Tip #3: Community Networking

Promote the VIP’s work by recommending it to your colleagues and followers. For example, re-tweet or share their ideas.  Send copies of their work to your customers and colleagues. If appropriate, send a client their way (be sure to  let them know you recommended them). Finally, support causes that are important to them. Even if you only make a small contribution, they will know you participated and got involved. 

Tip #4: Interview/Q&A Networking

Interview the person after doing in-depth preparation. Ask insightful questions that show you are interested in their work and knowledgeable about their profession. Interviews can be a great way to have a focused professional conversation and they also give you an opportunity to engage in a peer-to-peer conversation.  A well-done interview can significantly increase your visibility.

A word of caution: Mess up an interview by being unprepared and wasgting the VIP's time and you’ve damaged your chances of developing your professional relationship further. 


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.

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