If I had one hour with Sir Tony Elumelu, I'll ask for just 1 min. I repeat, one minute, not 1m (one million)
This is the way the conversation would go:
Sir Tony: Okay, you have one hour of my time. Let's talk, what can I do for you?
Me: Sir, I don't need one hour, I need just 1m!
Sir Tony: So, all you need is one million? Is it in dollars or what?
Me: No, sir. Not one million. Just one minute. I understand you are a very busy man and your time is quite precious.
Sir Tony: hmmm. So, what would you want to do with 1 min instead?
Me: I would appreciate it if you can just make a one-minute review video endorsing my writing and teaching skills. With that 1-minute video review, I can make more than 1 million!
Sir Tony: Hmmm, what a move!
If you had this same opportunity to meet him or any other public figure, what would you ask for?
Let's say you have the opportunity to spend an hour with Bernard Arnault or Elon Musk, what would your request be? Would you ask for the most expensive car? Would you ask for the most expensive house? Or, a private jet?
I think this generation is a bit consumed by the need for material things which has crowded its sense of judgment. Cars and properties are good, but there are substances money can't buy; with values worth more than a billion dollars.
One such entity is the influence you get from associating with some people. This gives you an open door in the competitive market — more and more people will change their perspectives about you or your brand because they would have started associating you with influential personalities.
Someone once said it this way: "Don't be so poor that all you think you need is money."
Let me also add that it's baggers that think that way and I believe you're not one.
Here are a few salient things, other than money, to ask for when you have the opportunity to meet with great minds:
Recommending a person has always been a way of giving them a lift in business or social life. People don't trust mere strangers, but they trust "recommended" strangers.
So, if you ever get the avenue to ask for anything from a noteworthy person, try to make it count. Such people are already bored by people asking for money.
Here is another place to look. If you want to break into a particular industry but lack the influence, just ask for a direct referral. This happens all the time.
Some companies only employ the directly referred. The reason could be that they see the individual as employable when in-house personnel can vouch for them. It is even easier if the guarantor or surety is an influential person in society.
Going to such people to ask for money would be like going to the ocean with a teaspoon. Why not go with a water truck? This is not to encourage opportunism but a guide to ask right when you get the chance to do so. Don't ask for a loaf of bread when you could ask for opportunities to own a bakery.
We must develop the right mentality in all that we do, including when making requests.
Some of the chances I have received in life have been as a result of the doors opened by someone else. Recently, I received a job offer due to this. Someone put in a good word for me.
That's the power of asking for the right things.
If you're in partnership with the right people, you get shots you never dreamt possible.
When you get the chance, a partnership should be at the top of your requests. One thing about working with an influential personality is you become influential, too. That's why a wealthy man's cook may be more popular than a doctor.
This may not be a request. The question, "Can we be friends?" is becoming a cliche.
Do this instead: consciously build a relationship between you and the influential around you and in no time, you would be just like them: powerful!