An overwhelming majority of emails and messages I receive end broadly the same way.
- What do you think of the idea?
- Am I on the right track?
- How should I plan my life?
- What’s the best advice you can give me?
And my personal favorite, “want to pick your brains on this.” This form of help-seeking is lazy, at its best. When we ask such questions, we may think we are being considerate of someone’s time.
But if the opposite person truly values their time, then this approach is frustrating. You expect someone to navigate through your story, your circumstance, your context, and then distill all the thoughts into one or two powerful implementable points?
Because you asked? Try this the next time:
Be. Ruthlessly. Specific And Relevant
That shows you have a problem and you have taken the effort to narrow down the reasons, have identified someone who could help, and you are respectful of their time. While aware of where they can help and how.
If you get a response, you know for a fact that you have a conversation going. With a sense of purpose.
For all the times you ask for generic advice. Someone who could have helped, chooses not to.
[This post by Ankur Warikoo first appeared on LinedIn and has been reproduced with permission.]