A little business and social etiquette. The next time you call on someone that you haven't spoken to in ages...Don't start the conversation with, “I know you are very busy, but I just want to pick your brain for a quick second.”
Your statement says: I know you are very busy. I don't care. I want my question answered right now because I'm more important than anything you presently have going on even though I haven't spoken to you in ages.
Although you really mean well and have no ill-intent, a less than well-thought-out approach will lead you in the opposite direction of the desires of your heart. Common sense must meet business sense in the quest to getting what you want.
Below, you will find a short list of a couple of things to think about when making a request on the time, talent and (brain) intellectual property of others. Yes, “brain-picking,” is infringement on the intellectual property of others. Did you just have an AHA Moment?
1. Ask how the person is doing first and foremost.
2. Listen to their response in regards to how they're doing and respond accordingly.
3. Then decide if what you need would be an imposition on that person's time before you request to, “pick their brain.” If it is, then ask to schedule a time to “pick their brain.”
4. Does that person charge a fee for “brain-picking?” I suggest going to that person's website and if you see the word, Consultant, there is most likely a fee. If you're not willing to pay for information, try Google. If you know them personally, perhaps agree to barter services and information.
All business and social relationships are not centered around money, however the most successful relationships are mutually beneficial in some way. Always be prepared to bring your expertise to the relationship.
The truth is...The mind is a wonderful thing to pick. Politely ask first. Nakia R. Laushaul