Avoid Search Paralysis: Use these Tools to Plan Complicated Searches – Part Two of Three

This is the second post in a series about how to avoid search paralysis during complicated searches. To recap:

The first step is to figure out which approach is most applicable to your search. The minutes you spend figuring this out will save you a ton of time down the search-road. Nothing is worse than feeling like you’ve spent hours flipping through links and websites and getting nowhere.

The three are:

1)      Fill in the Box
2)      Tarzan Style
3)      Core Drilling

Today’s focus is on the approach called TARZAN STYLE.

The Tarzan Style approach works best when you have a couple nuggets of true information and that’s all you know for sure. Like, say, you want to find where a former colleague is now working. Cling onto those fact nuggets like you are Tarzan and those nuggets are the vines saving you from the web jungle below. To stay with the Tarzan metaphor, you want to find the next vine to grab – but don’t let go of your facts until you have a firm hold on the next one!

So in our (hypothetical) former colleague example, let’s say you know John Smith was the vp of marketing at Anheuser Busch. Where is he today? Those three pieces of information…

(1)   NAME = John Smith

(2)   TITLE = vp marketing

(3)   EMPLOYER = Anheuser Busch

…are your vine. Don’t get sidetracked with the assumption that Mr. Smith lives in the St. Louis area where A.B. is based. That’s just an assumption (and will drop you directly into a hornet’s nest in the web jungle below).

The next vine to grab will be looking for a John Smith who is in marketing or has “Anheuser Busch” in his bio. In this example, you find a John Smith in marketing at MillerCoors – that’s your vine – so look for more information on the John Smith at MillerCoors. That leads you to find his bio that shows he previously worked at “a major American brewer,” likely Anheuser Busch, and that his middle initial is P.

Looking for a John P. Smith in the Golden, Colorado area (your next vine) in White Pages gives you a home phone number for your former colleague.

This is what that thought process looks like:

Remember, when you have only a few facts to start with – hold onto them for dear life! Don’t let go until you’ve found the next logical step.