How To Politely Say No To ‘Pick Your Brain’ Meetings
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” —Warren Buffett
If you’re incredibly successful in your field, you will undoubtedly get mails and LinkedIn messages from somebody who wants to talk to you. And as much as you would like to assist each person, there isn’t sufficient time. So, how do you do it without the other individual getting angry at you? Here are some tried and tested ways you can politely say ‘no’.
Working on a deadline
This method can be used for strangers who cold-contact you. You do not need to stipulate what the deadline is. Since they’re strangers, they don’t need to know your details and shouldn’t expect you to share.
People often ask for your time because they think you know something that can benefit them or that you are a decision-maker who can buy something. If you aren’t, or if you’ve “assigned” that decision making authority to someone in your organisation, refer them to that person.
Only taking paid clients
One can use this approach for people who are looking for free advice that will benefit them and their company tremendously.
Its incredible how often people who already have decent income and assets will ask for time and information, but they don’t think to hire someone for the answer. The method above is a soft nudge that if they want to talk to you about their business query, they can do it if they’re willing to pay. They almost always disappear instead.
This approach intends not to reject them outright but to let them know that you’re working hard and have a jam-packed calendar.
This reply sends the message that their issue better be pretty essential, and if they want to meet with you, they’ll take the proposed time slot in the distant future. Most of these people respond and say, “Oh, no worries, you sound swamped. Let’s connect when you’re less occupied.” And they go away.
Refer someone else
This is an easy one. People often ask your time because they think you know something that can benefit them or that you are a decision-maker who can buy something. If you aren’t, or if you’ve “assigned” that decision making authority to someone on your organisation, use this strategy. You can always qualify it by saying something like, “The quickest way to make progress on this is for you to talk straight to my co-worker.”
Communication via email
This is the response one can use most often. And email is way more efficient than phone calls and save your time.
One can say “only taking paid clients” approach for people who are looking for free advice that will benefit them and their company tremendously.
Pre-plan their calls
Again, if you don’t want to reject the person, this type of response is an excellent way to let them know you’re very occupied, so if they’re going to talk to you, they’d better be ready to do some pre-work.
Set an unusual timing for communication
Giving them an odd timing maybe at night will put them off if it is not urgent. Moreover, if they’re persistent, you can even suggest that you’re too busy to take calls because of your schedule and they should make an appointment before that.
Image: FEMALE mag Malaysia
Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV