Though flattering, an invitation such as this should be carefully considered, according to Kevin Ortner, president and CEO of Renters Warehouse. Brain-picking is akin to consulting services.
Are you giving up your trade secrets without getting much in return? If you’re tired of “brain pickers” and you’re looking for a tactful way to decline while still offering some helpful tips, Ortner suggests four alternatives.
- Provide a list of book recommendations. Keep a list handy of great books you’ve found helpful in your career.
- Suggest articles you’ve written or read. If you’ve personally written about the brain-picking topic on your blog, website, or in a publication, send your contact links those pieces. Bookmark other online resources you find useful so you have links handy to forward on to others. Let this person know that you offer this type of advice for free, but an in-person meetup involves a cost.
- Add them to your event list. If you’re speaking at special events and educational conference, be sure to add these people to your mailing list so they can attend one of your future sessions.
- Offer to do an email Q&A. If the request to meet piques your interest but you just don’t have time to get face-to-face, ask that they email you a brief list of questions that you can answer in your downtime.
Ortner says that meeting up with fellow industry professionals shouldn’t be cut out of your schedule altogether. The key is not feeling obligated to accepting every request. Be realistic about your schedule and set up one or two 30-minute meeting per month. This gives you the change to say yes to meetings you’re truly interested in and network on your own terms. Value your time and others will too.
Source: “When Someone Asks to ‘Pick Your Brain’” (Dec. 1, 2016, REALTOR® Magazine)