When Asking, Be Prepared

I’m often asked for my opinion.   The requests can range from reviewing business plans or ideas, to career support, to feedback on a podcast or sales literature.  It seems the requests have increased a little lately.   Not sure why.

I like helping people.  I am a big fan of feedback and search it out for myself all the time.  So, given the chance to pay it back, I normally do.  I can’t always help out, but when I do, there are a couple of things I require.  First, don’t expect me to put in more work than you.  If you have something you want me to read, an idea you want my opinion on or your looking for feedback, I expect you to have done at least 10 times more work than your asking me to do.  Don’t expect me to do the work for you.  It’s your work.  Second, expect real and honest feedback.  If you’re looking for validation, I’m not your guy.  Your Mom can do that better I ever could.  Third, allow me to work it into my schedule.  I like to get back to people as soon as possible, but It’s not always possible.  If you need something immediately, don’t count on me.   Next, expect to be challenged.  Challenging people is the most valuable support you can give.  Challenging people stretches them, it gets them out of their comfort zone.  It forces them to see things differently.  If you ask for my help, expect to be challenged and pushed.  Finally, tell me exactly what it is you want, what your doing, and what your goal is.  I don’t have time to guess.  Tell me what the purpose of the effort is, what your trying to accomplish and why it’s important.  I need context.  Without context, feedback is useless.  Don’t make me guess.  I’m a bad guesser.

In return, I will take my time and give it all of my attention.  I will take notes, ask questions, make suggestions, offer insight and do my best to add value.  If I can’t, I will tell you.  I can’t and won’t waste your time.