When someone asks, “May I pick your brain?” What should you say?

Those people are essentially asking you to do work for no pay.

You’re a professional worker. You’ve spent a lifetime learning what you know. You’ve paid a lot of money for your own education, building your reservoir of knowledge and experience.

People pay to consult with you; to benefit from your wisdom. Why should someone expect to gain access to your mountain of knowledge without paying for the privilege?

So, before you say “Sure”, think about this for a moment.

There is an EGO BOOST for you when someone asks “May I pick your brain”. But is your self-esteem so low you need an ego boost? Probably not.

If the person asking is family or close friend, say “Sure” because that’s what we do to support our families and friends.

But remember, when you put your groceries on the counter at the shop THEY ASK YOU FOR MONEY. They don’t ask how many free consultations you’ve done.

So think about how you’ll answer that question: “May I pick your brain?”

Shouldn’t you be rewarded for your education, the skills you’ve mastered and your experience?

Your lawyer charges by the minute for his/her advice. Your doctor charges per consultation for dispensing advice. As a professional you should charge a fair fee for your advice.

You should establish your strategy.

For family and friends: “Sure, but I’d like to manage this discussion so you get some value from talking with me. Is that OK with you?” Then you ask the person to describe their main problem in one sentence. ONE SENTENCE. That stops the waffle. You’re forcing them to think. Often they already know what they need to do next.

For everyone else:

“Sure. Would you like to make an appointment? Then I can give you my full attention.” That reminds them that you earn a living by sharing your knowledge.

Don’t exchange it for a $4 coffee. We are not suggesting you be rude or selfish. We do suggest you work out a strategy for yourself so you can be prepared. .

The NZIBS training courses offer the perfect launchpad for someone keen to pivot into the freelancing world. The comprehensive course curriculum and the flexible study options help make the transition seamless and will set you up for success .

Do you like guiding people?

Do you have life experience? Are you a good communicator? Use your skills and experiences to become a paid professional, and the real satisfaction comes from helping people.