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Your Networking Questions Answered: Asking To Pick Someone’s Brain Is A Networking Turnoff #BYDN

By June 17, 2017January 14th, 2019No Comments
J. Kelly Hoey - Build Your Dream Network

LinkedIn InMail (from a female founder): I would love to pick your brain about my start up. Your experience would be very beneficial as I am powering through the (many) roadblocks on this journey.

My Response: I’m just back from a networking breakfast organized with members of Dreamers & Doers — if you’re hitting roadblocks, having peers who have (or are) facing similar startup challenges is a good place to seek answers. Just an FYI, asking someone if you can pick their brain pretty much tops the list of networking turnoffs these days and would not be my suggested tactic to seek advice.

LinkedIn Reply: Thank you for the suggestion, I will check out Dreamers and Doers. And thanks for the feedback, I need to read your book!

Here’s the #BYDN networking takeaway…

We have two valuable assets in life: time and reputation.

Time is the ultimate limited resource (since we can’t get ever it back), so seek other people’s time wisely. For example, you don’t want to waste someone’s time (and your chance to make a valuable career connection) with general background questions in an informational interview or asking to “pick their brain” when a few minutes researching online could have you armed you with information to make a smarter “here’s why I’d value a few minutes of your time” ask. Be considerate by being curious! Show some networking generosity by doing your research in advance of sending the email! Then ask a more detailed, specific question as to why that person is the one with the expertise or experience to help you with your current problem or challenge or roadblock.

Need another reason to pick-up a copy of #BYDN….

J. Kelly Hoey

J. Kelly Hoey is a problem solver who believes that most professional challenges—whether funding, landing a board position or getting a new job—are solved by tapping into networks.Kelly is a popular speaker on networking, community building and investing issues, especially as they relate to women, and has worked with the IEEE, PGA, Bank of America, Apple and countless others. Follow Kelly on Twitter @jkhoey and on Instagram @jkellyhoey and join the #BYDN community at