In one of our previous articles on Meeting Important People From The Industry, we talked about how some people are actually scoring meetings with people in the high positions. They do so with the excuse that they’d like to find out more about what the industry’s really like. Like most business meetings, it all starts with a ‘cold’ email. So here’s how to go about doing it.

Too many emails start off badly, with boring subject lines and long. Don’t spend too long talking about yourself—get right to the point about what you’ve read, and how the other person can help.

Here’s an actual cold email that got me a meeting with an executive who held the position I was looking for at the time.

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Subject: Greetings from a fellow writer—would love to chat about your [organization] work

The subject line set up common ground right off the bat. While I didn’t have a direct referral or go to the same school as she had, the fact that we had similar roles persuaded her to open it.

I’m a writer and editor with a background in biomedical engineering, and with experience at a publishing house.

I’d love to get your career advice. Right now I’m on a quest for a role that combines writing and scientific research, and from reviewing [your company] website I decided I should talk to you. Do you think we could chat about your current work, your founding of [your past startup], and your experience so far?

If I’d had a referral, here’s where I’d indicate it. But more importantly, I made sure I was clear what I wanted and where I was coming from, and summarised the research I’d done on her company and the industry. After this, I politely shared a specific way she could help.

(I’m also personally indebted to work in cancer research, having had loved ones with the disease and who were able to live full lives with the time they had.)

I can meet you for coffee near your office, or anywhere you find convenient. Let me know what works; I can work around your schedule. Would it be possible for us to meet?

This paragraph indicated respect for her time, and an offer to meet where it was convenient for her. If I were writing this again, I’d first suggest a few specific times, a 15-minute duration and a venue—but then indicate I could work around her schedule.

I’ll be happy to help with editing and manuscript work if that’s needed. Many thanks in advance!

This offer to help increases the likelihood of working together in the future, and positioned me as someone with the expertise to save her time and make her role easier.

Best regards,

Zhengping Lu
M – [contact number]

This provided an easy alternative way to contact me. Some people prefer text messaging or even direct phone calls—and had she wanted to set up our meeting this way, she could have done so immediately.

For better or worse, people are now easier to find than ever—and that means your request needs to clearly stand out.

The same principle applies to everything, including investing. Asking the right questions, to the right person. That’s what the free investing seminars are for nowadays. So, the first step is done for you. But that’s your chance to talk to the other attendees around you, especially if there are past students in the mix. Obviously, hearing from the trainer himself is gonna give you the answers to the technical questions. But if you really wanna know the entire programme’s experience, talk to the students, read the reviews. Widen your source of intel.

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Done right, the informational interview will save you years of experiencing the wrong choice, and steer you in the right direction.


Zhengping Lu is a Programs Executive at Eagles Communications, a non-profit that helps emerging young leaders and public speakers reach their fullest potential, and serve with honour and integrity.