Trust me, I understand how daunting it is messaging someone you’ve never interacted with. I do it all the time anyway though, through trial and error (and a few blocks here and there), I’ve come up with the most effective way to DM a stranger (for work purposes, only. I don’t move to boys LOL).
Find out a bit about the person first: Have a look at their feed, if they’re on LinkedIn you can have a look at their role and think of some relevant questions you might want to ask when you eventually get well acquainted. You can have a look at their Twitter and Instagram profiles as well, which is what I do. If they’re tweeting about Cardi B or football all day long, then you shouldn’t feel too awkward as you know they speak your language. However, come correct and be formal at first. It’s not enough to know what someone’s job title is, find out about what they’ve been up to and what their current position actually entails.
Keep it short: By now you should know I’m a bit of a waffler. Most of my emails are no shorter than 5 paragraphs, phone calls tend to last 90 minutes, and my voice notes are notoriously long (people always listen to the whole 4 minutes so…). Don’t overwhelm them though; make your query clear, at a maximum of four or five sentences.
The person is most likely to be in the same city as you, so to avoid the draining back and forths, especially if emails intimidate you, perhaps ask they’d like to meet for a coffee. Offer to go within close proximity to the other person. You can offer to pay (but I never do hehe).
Follow up: People are busy, and sometimes emails fall between the cracks. If it’s been over a week and you still haven’t heard back, consider writing a brief follow-up email. Don’t come across stalker-isa though!
Don’t forget to thank the person for getting back to you, helping you with whatever your query is, and agreeing to meet with you.
And dress appropriately when you meet. Please. Don’t come and embarrass me.