People who know me say I'm a pretty nice guy.
I give to charity, treat my employees fairly and with respect, and am good to my family. I speak to student assemblies at my old grade school and high school, and I'm kind to animals, most notably to dogs.
So keep that in mind as I prepare to rail against a breed of vultures who demand of my time by asking me if they can, arrrrggggggghhhhh, PICK MY BRAIN!
While not everything in life needs to be tit-for-tat, could someone explain where MY win is in having my "brain picked"? The process sounds like a nefarious experiment from a Herschell Gordon Lewis bloodfest where the spoils go to the picker and spoiled leftover is me, the unfortunate pickee.
Now I'm no fool and I get it; there comes a time in life when one's collective accomplishments or mere longevity at doing anything makes them a candidate to dispense what one with fewer achievements or time-in-the-field will consider "wisdom." That I can accept, understand, and in my case, even appreciate as a supreme compliment.
But there HAS TO BE a better way to ask for an audience with said person than with the insidious Brain Pick. The verbal equivalent of a silent burp after a meal of garlicky Portuguese sausage and dark Bavarian beer, this is an IMMEDIATE turn-off which results in a knee-jerk reaction of me constructing something akin to the Great Wall of China around my calendar. Pick my brain? You're gonna need an industrial-strength jackhammer just to poke a pinhole in my Outlook.
So, as I sponge up the venom from my keyboard and desk and pop half an Ativan to calm down, let me provide you knowledge-and-advice-seekers with a little bit of it in advance: put away your pick-axes and cranial maps and use instead terminology like:
- "Would you mind giving me the benefit of your experience?" or
- "Would you be so kind to share your expertise?" or
- "There are a few things I would appreciate learning from you"
...or something else that establishes that you are asking for a favor, and not the opportunity to invade one's brain with a sharp, deadly weapon.
This is not saying you need to suck up or kiss-ass. The goal is still the same: a sincere wish for a transfer of knowledge. But it's all about staying on message with a message that's a little more humble and positive.
This way, people like me won't feel like a victim. Or see you as a predator.
And, most importantly, have more of our brain left to share with the next person who asks properly.