The modern day career path can be fickle and there is no set formula for being successful. In the beginning, no one wants to know your name. They haven’t got time to deal with a nobody who can’t do anything in return. It’s a waste of time and energy. Now that you’re a big deal (we’ll say it for you), businesses and peers are falling over themselves to arrange a meeting. Clearly, these people don’t understand the “Vito Corleone School” of favours. But, because you do, you don’t want to fall into the same trap. It’s impossible to tell when you’ll need help. On the flip side, you’re going to be inundated with offers. So, how does one respond?
“Can I Pick Your Brain?”
This request is innocent enough because some people want to understand how to kick-start a career. There is a handful of issues with this, though. The first one is the ambiguity of the phrase. What do they want to talk about? How long do they need? To avoid meeting in person, fire off a few quick emails and evaluate their needs and wants. Hopefully, you’ll be able to answer everything via electronic mail. Another cool trick is to outsource email. For more info on mail forwarding address visit https://yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk/london-mail-address-business-services/mail-forwarding-london/. Mostly, you want to point them in the direction of the published material. FAQs on the topic are fantastic, as are seminars on https://www.youtube.com as they’re free and informative.
“Can We Connect?”
“I don’t know. Can we?” If you want to avoid offending someone, then this isn’t the right response. Still, it’s what goes through everyone’s head when they read the sentence. Again, the reason is that it’s vague. This is the age of technology so there are hundreds of different ways to connect with a person. Firstly, you need to clarify their position. If they want to build up a contact list, which is usually the case, feel free to add them on https://www.linkedIn.com. Or, offer them an email address if you want to make them feel special. Be careful though if you think they are going to send multiple messages and waste your time. Face-to-face connectors are difficult, so treat them with care. But, say you’re already out getting lunch they can pop up and touch base. As always, saying no is an option.
“Let’s Talk Because I’m A Big Deal, Too”
It’s amazing how many entrepreneurs write messages asking for a relative stranger to do them a favour. Even worse, the tone implies that they are doing you a solid. Don’t dismiss it out of hand because it may have potential. But, at the same time, don’t waste energy trying to sort through their attitude. You’re not a shrink! Respond along the lines of “Hi, I’m happy to help but need more info first. Can you tell me more about the project?” Their response should reveal whether it’s worth your time or if the idea is pie in the sky.
Have you ever encountered these requests or anything like them? If so, how did you respond?