October 2, 2017

5 Things You Can Do Instead of “Picking My Brain”


We’re going to discuss in detail the question I dread most from people: “Can I pick your brain?” And I’ll tell you why it’s ok for me or anyone to tell you no and what you can do to get the info you’re looking for instead.

I love sharing information with people. Not just as a content creator, but as a person. I’m happy to tell you where to find the best produce in the neighborhood or even willing to share where I got my shoes (and even how much they cost if you really want to know). That’s just my personality. It makes me incredibly enthusiastic to give people information they want to know & can help them. So made I’ve made a living off of it to an extent.

However, when people reach out to me to pick my brain – it drives me nuts. The ask is usually not genuine, inconvenient and the justification for the ask is a $5 cup of coffee. And that’s just not enough for me.

You want access to the information I know without building a relationship or connection with me. That’s a case of entitlement. I don’t have the time. Not for people I don’t have a relationship with. Most people feel the same as I do. You can get back money, but you can never get back time. To invest that kind of time in someone you have no relationship with is too much of a gamble.

Here’s what you can do to find the information you’re looking for from me instead of pick my brain:

I provide free content on my blog where I answer questions about everything from my outfits to how I run my blog as a full time business. And if you can’t find it there, I’ve probably answered the question on my podcast or even on social. Look for answers before asking for them. You’ll get better results.

Because I love creating free valuable content for my followers, I typically offer a free webinar every month. In those webinars, I explain in depth everything from how to build your email list to how to promote your content on social media. Because it’s free and usually anywhere from 60-90 minutes, I offer it live and then for 24 hours afterwards. The best part? I offer a Q&A at the end of each of them where you can actually pick my brain.

I’m everywhere on social – Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook – which is a great place to interact with me organically and build with me. While it doesn’t automatically make us family, I really value the online relationships I’ve built with readers and followers over the years. When people visit Atlanta or I visit their city, we typically link up and meet in person and because there’s already a connection there, it makes things less awkward.

When I can, I speak on panels and at conferences. Nothing replaces a face to face interaction so come on out if the opportunity presents itself. I remember names and faces and it’s still the best way to build with someone. Plus, we always have that as a reference point from where we met. If it is a conference or panel for a specific group of people, it automatically highlights our like mindedness. And I’m usually happy to keep the convo going afterwards via email and/or phone if the shoe fits.

Because I’ve been blogging for almost 8 years, there are tons of examples you can study from my blog or social media (email if you’re on my list) that will answer questions for you. The point being is that you can get what you’re looking for me by looking intentionally versus a separate one on one meeting.

While the intent of picking someone’s brain maybe completely innocent, the approach is dated and most times insulting. Because of the nature of the business nowadays, you can probably get the information you’re looking for from someone by reading their blog (or book), listening to their podcast or attending an event they speak at. If those aren’t options, I encourage you to build a relationship – a real one – where picking their brain isn’t a chore, but a pleasure.

comments +

  1. Daneisha Smith

    October 9th, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I think I’ve done this once (asked to pick a bloggers brain about blogging) and it was definitely innocent. But after seeing this post and many other successful bloggers speak about this, I can see why it would be an insult; Especially since a lot of times you all have spent years trying to get where you are and you’ve had to learn a lot of it on your own. The best route to take is to study the bloggers that you admire and watch those webinars that they are giving you. This is what I’ve been doing. So far, it’s been pretty helpful! Thanks Mattie!

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