I was going to whine about setting up appointments in Paris and throw in a few unfair stereotypes about French bureacuracy, but instead I chose to think of five things that are positive, funny or interesting about trying to get appointments with lecturers and other important people for the purposes of research.
In no particular order..
1. Just because someone doesnot respond in six weeks does not mean they have forgotten, email responses frequently come months or even years after your enquiry. it might take a while, but it will come.
2. “Yes but no” is a perfectly good response to email requests. Do not get upset about the lack of clarity – it is called a nuanced response. part of the game is trying to tease out which is the more preferred response.
3. Good manners are abslutely important in email writing. Being respectful works wonders – pay attention to tone and use of words.
4. Using traditional , snail mail is not completely odd. A thank you card or note sent via the old system is a positive thing!
5. If you make the effort to cobble together email responses in French, people become very helpful. I’ve even been included in on information that brought in a few extra Euros into the bank.
Sending emails, trying to get a foot in the door here I guess boils down to effort and a certain touch of skills of patient and arduous seduction. The key is not to give up.