5 Tactful Ways to Pick a Busy Person’s Brain

By Erin Greenawald for The Muse – June 29, 2014

When you reach out to people you admire, asking them to chat about their careers, you probably think it’s an obvious decision for them to help you. After all, who doesn’t want to use their hard-won expertise to catapult other people to success?

Well, I’ve got some bad news for you: Agreeing to meet up with you is not an easy decision for these people. In fact, in many cases, they would much rather say no.

It’s not that they’re heartless and don’t want to help; it’s just that they get a lot of these asks. You’re not the only one who wants their advice. And, unfortunately, they only have so much time to give away. In fact, the New York Post reported this week that some experts are starting to feel so taxed by the asks for help, that they’ve started charging for it (and not just the price of the cup of coffee you’re offering to buy them).

So, what can you do if you really want some guidance from someone you admire? Follow the five-step process below for asking someone busy for help — without being annoying — and you’ll make it hard for him or her to say no.