People all around us have lots of wisdom, insights, and experience. And they like to be asked about it.
Think about it. When someone asks you about something you know a lot about, isn’t it sorta fun to engage in that discussion?
If they ask your opinion, aren’t you a little bit flattered?
If they ask for your advice, don’t you like to try and help them out?
I’m guessing that your answer is yes to all of the above, most of the time.
Because we like to talk about what we know. We like to share our opinions and insights. We like to try and help.
That means that the odds are pretty high that that is also true for most people around you.
They are ready, willing, and able to share lots of ideas with you.
All you have to do is ask.
Different types of asks
You might stop them in the hallway and go for the casual ask.
Hitting people up this way can be a good way to get their “gut reactions” to things in a low pressure way.
It takes the heat off of them for anything too deep or formal because, after all, you just stopped them on the spot.That can work well for both of you.
Still casual, but a little more focused is the coffee ask.
You setup a time to meet in a decidedly casual setting. This gives a little more weight to the conversation, but still keeps it personal and informal. This gives you the advantage of some dedicated time with the person in a low key environment.
You might try the email ask.
This requires a little more work on their end but helps you to capture their thoughts in writing, which can be helpful.
This doesn’t work well if the topic is sensitive in any way, because you’re basically asking the person to go on record by asking them to put their comments in writing.
The email ask is best if you want feedback on your work and you need them to see it in detail in order to provide useful insights.
And let’s not forget an oldie but a goodie, the phone call ask.
This can be a great way to get a quick read on something from someone. It’s easy for them, easy for you, and quick too.
Different times to ask
Are you at the beginning, middle, or end of the thing you’re working on?
People love to shape things, so asking early on usually works well. You can be vague and they can be freewheeling. It’s always fun to start early and revise often.
When you’re in the middle, you might be in the sticky parts or you might be running into some decision points.
People love to chime in here too. Wouldn’t you? These can be the time that some of the most strategic choices need to be made. Exciting.
At the end, you’ve got to make sure everything is right. Did you forget something? Did you make a silly mistake because this has been swimming around in your head for too long?
People like to help here too, because it’s easy. It’s just a last run through. And they get a preview before anyone else!
Go ahead an ask
You are surrounded by a wealth of resources. And let’s not forget that you are a valuable resource to others too.
Once you start asking more, people may start to seek you out more often too. This will give you a chance to share your wisdom, insights, and experience more and more.
So go ahead and get the cycle started. All you have to do is ask.