Before you storm the castle with swords ablazing, do know who guards the gate? He or she is more than you might give them worth! Who is the gate keeper, you ask? He or she is the person you go through in order to get in contact with the actual person you are seeking. This might be a coach, a casting director, an agent, a director, or someone at an ad agency. That person answering the phone, responding to emails, or setting appointments can be your best friend or worst enemy. Usually, that choice is up to you!
We encounter gate keepers in our every day life, which is a great forum for practice. If you trip up and lose your temper, it's better done with a postal worker than with someone that might hold the power to help move your career forward. Keep in mind that whomever you are first exposed to when seeking someone's attention, they are not just a receptionist or assistant. Anyone who has ever had an assistant or similar help can tell you how important that person becomes to the employers' daily success. In sales, one of the first things we are taught is how to communicate with our friend, the gate keeper.
An industry professional shared this story with me recently: My assistant was out on leave temporarily, so I was answering her emails. One of them was from [names will be spared, so we'll call him/her Tracy]. The email was very hateful and demanding about why they hadn't been able to set an appointment with me. The emailer accused my assistant of being incompetent.
Of course, this simple action put Tracy immediately in bad graces with his/her hopeful new relationship. If and when they ever meet, every action afterward will be tainted with the reminder that Tracy lacked tact and professionalism. If they never get to meet, it will only be Tracy's own fault. Sadly, Tracy probably won't ever know why.
We all tend to be on our best behavior with those people with whom we want to maintain a positive relationship and show our best face. Sadly, we don't always share that same respect with their staff and helpers. Change your perspective to approaching those who can help your career -- right along with their entire staff and circle of acquaintances -- with the utmost respect. A friendly gate keeper on your side can ease the transition to getting what you really want in the end!