4 TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN ASKING TO "PICK SOMEONE'S BRAIN"
Have you ever asked to "Pick Someone's Brain" ? We live in the ultimate hustling era and with social media right at our fingertips, it's so easy to see anyone and everyone's work. You may have a favorite influencer or business person that you follow and admire or may even want to reach out to a perspective mentor and ask some questions. Picking someones brain has been a hot topic for decades with some people saying absolutely not while others say absolutely yes, but I've seen it more and more recently.
I personally think asking someone to pick their brain with the right approach is a great way to get up close, personal and honest answers to the questions that you are seeking. I recently asked to pick the brains of 2 women in careers that I'm looking to branch into and both woman agreed. I gained pages of notes and information that I reference while making my transition into new territory. I understand why someone would not want you to pick their brains and that's ok too. Every NO just leads you closer to a YES, and honestly 9 times out of 10 if that person says no they probably aren't the person you need to be talking to. If you do decide to take a leap of faith and ask someone to pick their brain, here are 4 tips to help you go for it.
1. Have Your Opening Line Ready - When you reach out to someone via a cold email or message there is always a 50 /50 chance that they wont respond. You should always have your short explanation ready and on hand when you fire up enough nerve to make contact so that the person knows immediately why they are hearing from you. (especially when they didn't give you their information) This explanation can be written a various number of ways but just make sure you are genuine. People can usually sense when you are full of shit so simply say hello, introduce yourself and then shoot your shot.
2. Pick A Gesture That You Can Afford - When you reach out to someone and ask to pick their brain, you're basically asking someone for their time. Free time at that. Because time is precious and time is also money, its a great idea to have something to "offer" when you reach out. The popular and cheapest gesture is inviting someone out for coffee. If this is your gesture of choice, go to a coffee shop where you can have a relaxed, open and easy conversation. Ask them what they like to drink, order and pay for it. This super small gesture can show them that you are appreciative of their time, even if it is for only an hour. If you can afford more, then asking to take them to lunch or dinner is also great as well.
3. Have Your Important Questions Ready - Because this person is taking time out of their lives to sit down and speak with you, you want to be as prepared and direct as possible. Write down a list of vital questions that pertain to your reason for asking them to meet with you. Share what you have been working on (showing them a physical or visual project is great!) and also share if you are hitting any roadblocks. This shows that you are trying, ready to work and that you are open to their critique as well.
4. Send a Thank You Note - Whether its a card, email or a hand written personalized note, sending a thank you note is always best. It shows that you appreciate the person taking the time to chat with you and it also sets you apart from the rest. You want to make the person feel like their time and knowledge wasn't waisted or may have fell on deaf ears. It also doesn't stop at a thank you note. Keep the person up to date on your progress as well and keep checking in on them from time to time. Appreciation is important.
Are you team YES or team HELL NO PAY ME FOR MY TIME when it comes to picking someone's brain? Let's talk about it in the comments below.