Monday, March 16, 2015

"Can I pick your brains?"


I love meeting new people.  It is always fun to sit down and connect, exploring how you can help one another.

But lately I ‘ve been inundated with introductions – people who think I just have to meet “Jane”; or folks who I’ve just met and want to expand on the discussion or new members who want to “pick my brain.”

While I would love, well most of the time, to meet everyone, there are just not enough hours in the day.  Plus I live in the country so travel and the time to travel becomes an issue and a huge deterrent.

It is becoming harder and harder to manage these e-introductions.  Oh I can quickly email back to say nice to meet you, but it’s the next step that gets cumbersome – they want to meet, Skype, chat with you on the phone – all of which is time.

When you run your own business, time is a precious commodity and I find it hard to dole it out to complete strangers.  Sure some sound interesting, but with others you just don’t see the connection or if it is a male speaker, I feel like saying from the get-go “you know I don’t use male speakers, as I want the women to see role models of their own gender.”  But how do you do all that, without seeming rude?

And that may be part of my problem, I was brought up to be polite, treat people with respect, etc… but then I also ask myself if these new “friends” are treating me with respect?  Do they know how busy I am?

Yet, I have to say that through a series of connections, I met someone who is based in Vancouver and who is now speaking at my conference.  So it does work.  But then when I look back, part of it was that the ‘referral’ came from someone I know well and who I trust.  The other intriguing factor that made me pick up the phone, was she has my maiden name – so it was like calling myselfJ

All of which goes to say, working out how to manage all these requests is challenging.  One thing I have learned is that as soon as someone says she wants to “pick my brains” my antenna goes up.  This is not going to be a quick call.  In fact, if I were still a consultant, I’d want to be charging for my time.

So there you go, this is my dilemma.  What do the rest of you do?  I am sure I am not alone with the challenges of managing the “want to-get-to-know-you” people in your life.   Send me some solutions.  And don’t worry, we don’t have to meet, Skype or chat on the phone. Just add your comments. 

3 comments:

Leigh said...

Great Post Anne - I schedule time in my 4-week schedule for introductions and pick-my-brain kinda calls. There are limited time slots (sometimes only 9 x 1 hours at the end of each month). If the 9 slots fill up, then we go to the next month. Protect your time.

Kara Sparkplug Coffee said...

Hi Anne - I saw your post yesterday and then today came across this video from Marie Forleo that gives some good ideas for how to say no to these kinds of requests. Plus some discussion of why it is OK (or good!) to say no sometimes. Enjoy!
http://www.marieforleo.com/2013/06/pick-your-brain/

Carol Schulte said...

Anne, a timely article - and I can relate! I can only imagine of all the requests you get ~ and you are so giving likely say yes to them all!

I too, love chatting and getting to know and help people. I have now had to set up some boundaries ~ as I was not getting my own work done! Like Leigh, I have 1 afternoon a week I keep open for meeting people - however if it is 'picking your brain' I try to limit to a 15 minute phone call - if they want to go deeper, always happy to share how they can work with me :-).