Know Something

Before you talk to knowledgeable people, become knowledgeable yourself. Even before you "start with people," check in a dictionary, encyclopedia, or the Internet to learn the terms that will help you ask good questions. Sometimes this means asking people about other people to talk to. For those other people, of whom you expect something particular, it may mean familiarizing yourself with their writing, their achievements, and their expertise in general. Keep in mind that you'll get one kind of information if you present yourself as a novice and another kind when you appear already knowledgeable. The second kind will be deeper and more useful.

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