As luck would have it, the people with whom you most want to network are usually the busiest. Trying to connect with these people can be challenging, because there’s so much competition for their time.

But these busy people are often the best contacts you can have. Most people who are always busy are that way for a good reason: a large number of people want to network with them.

For greater success, remember these tips when reaching out to such busy people:

1. Think like a busy person. Consider their perspective. A busy person is unlikely give you a lot of attention without a really good reason. The fact that you reached out to them is not necessarily a guarantee that you’ll receive a response.

* The busy person you have your sights on may receive upwards of hundreds of communications every day. They can’t give the same amount of attention to every contact. Just as your local emergency room must assist patients based on the severity of their medical issues, the busy person also sorts their interpersonal to-do list.

* You may have a great and even noble reason for reaching out to them. But you must see reality from their perspective if you want to succeed in making contact. Would you rather spend a few extra hours returning phone calls and answering e-mails from strangers, or would you rather spend that time with your friends and family?

* As you can see, busy people have to be very selective when it comes to returning communication attempts. This isn’t rudeness. They’re just being effective. Realizing this gives you a much better chance of connecting with them. Accept the fact that you’re going to have to function within their reality and not within your own.

2. Be unique. Avoid sending the same thing they’ve seen 500 times already this week. If your email looks like everyone else’s or your phone call sounds like everyone else’s, you’re going to the same place all of those people have gone: to the virtual wastebasket.

* Give them something unique if you want a personal reply instead of a canned response or no response at all.

3. Use the least clogged communication channels. E-mail is almost always a bad idea. Even non-busy people frequently have more e-mail than they can reasonably answer. The phone may or may not be a good idea, depending on the person and their field of business.

* Are you confident your e-mail will be read? Consider good, old snail mail. Most of us don’t get mail anymore besides bills. It would be even better if you hand wrote it on real stationary. You can guarantee it will be opened and read, especially if it is sent via FedEx or UPS.

Be creative in your approach. Making meaningful contact with busy people can be challenging, but it can certainly be accomplished. Always consider their perspective and the time pressure that exists in their lives. If you’re thoughtful, polite, and at least a little inventive, you can add that busy person to your contact list!