Over the years I have had many requests to “pick my brain – from the reasonable to the utterly absurd and whilst some people are genuinely seeking advice with good intentions quite a few people are simply asking for consultancy that they should be paying for. Being asked to have your brains picked can sometimes be as unpleasant as it sounds because if you’re not careful people can take advantage of your time and your expertise. There’s nothing wrong with people asking you for guidance or advice, especially once you become known as an expert in your field, in fact it is inevitable especially in a social media era when people have more access to you via various means of communication. However it is really important that you set boundaries in a way that maintains your reputation and doesn’t completely shut people out but also ensures that people understand that your time and expertise is not freely available and that you do have limits. In video below I break down what to do when people ask to pick your brain.
Setting up processes and procedures that reassert your boundaries is important here are a few more tips that you might find useful:
- Remind people who want to pick your brains that you have multiple resources available for them to review – very so often I’ve already answered the question that someone has asked via this site, my newsletter or my YouTube channel. People aren’t always aware of these resources and just need a nudge – however be weary of doing too much, people can take advantage if you do too much for them without encouraging them to do the work themselves.
- Encourage them to book a consultation if you already have this as a service offering – I run one to one sessions for clients which are a great way for them to “pick my brain” for a price for a set period of time. If you don’t have this as an offer on your website it might be worth considering setting one up.
- Use the question as an opportunity – you might receive the same question multiple times so perhaps it’s worth running a seminar, webinar or livestream session. You can charge or do some free sessions for your own personal brand visibility. I have run free group sessions in the past which were a great way for me to engage with potential clients.