Networking with the Stars

The other day I had a meeting with Lucy Ann Lance, a local radio personality, and Dean Erskine, her business partner. We were talking about working together on a project (which I will talk more about on a different day). The funny thing was, even though I had been on her radio show twice before and knew that Lucy Ann was one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, I was still nervous to go speak with her. After all, Lucy Ann is a Celebrity.

It’s funny how celebrity can put up a wall between us.

Oh, and the “celebrity” doesn’t even have to be all that famous. Think about how people react to a speaker at a networking event. There’s something about the fact that they’re standing up in front of everyone that sets them apart — never mind that before you learned who they were, they were just another person sitting at your table.

Here’s the thing I discovered, though — and this may come as a shock to you — with very few exceptions, celebrities are people, too.

I know! Who would have thought?

I once had an opportunity to strike up a conversation with George Takei (the actor who played, among many other roles, Sulu on the original Star Trek). This was a guy who has had a long and varied career, who has numerous causes in which he believed strongly, and who obviously was on a completely different level from me. The weighty matter that was at the forefront on his mind?

Whether or not he was going to be able to make it back home to Los Angeles because of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even my brush with celebrity with Lucy Ann Lance revealed more of the same. We were talking about networking events and she told me that even after being the emcee at numerous gatherings, she still feels a little nervous walking alone into a room full of strangers.

So, the next time you have an opportunity, strike up a conversation with a celebrity. Ask about their interests and goals, find out about their epic journey. In short, treat them just like you would any other person.

Because, in point of fact, that’s exactly what they are.

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About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.

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