Eight Better Ways to Ask “Can I Pick Your Brain”

Exec Influencer

Pick your Brain

When someone sends you an email or message and asks “can I pick your brain”, what thoughts go through your mind?

Do you find yourself thinking that they must really need the easy button or shortcut to an answer they seek and not liking the way they asked?

The phrase “can I pick your brain” typically comes with a negative connotation. The person asking clearly needs something. While we stress utilizing your network every way you can, there are SO MANY more ways to achieve that than using the phrase “can I pick your brain.”

Recommended Reading – Tips for Your Networking Strategy to Become an Exec Influencer 

If you find yourself framing your ask for help this way, we want to help you re-phrase your with an inviting and welcoming manner that compels the other party to say yes.

First – be as specific as possible to the request. Let them know how valuable their expertise is and why a meeting be a game-changer for you.

Consider framing your request with these seven different ways

  1. I’m working on a project that overlaps with your expertise, I have specific questions around XYZ and was wondering if I could spend some time discussing with you?
  2. You intrigued me with your idea about XYZ. Would you be open to discussing with me further?
  3. I am told you have a unique perspective on X. I’d love to learn more (and then tell them why you would like to learn more about it)
  4. I’m struggling with X and here’s what I’ve explored to date. I’m feeling stuck and would love your help in thinking through a solution, are you available to share your perspective?
  5. I’d love to borrow you and your brain for 30 minutes (don’t ask for more than an hour). My hope is that I can also offer my services to you. Here are a a couple things I thought you might find useful because of X (do your research, everyone has something they can offer)
  6. I would like to learn from you and draw from your experience in area X. Is there an easy way for me to be able to draw from your expertise?
  7. I’ve read the articles (videos, podcasts, vlogs etc – fill in the blank) on XYZ. I’m particularly interested in what you said about X. Would you be open to discussing this with me in an hour of your time?


We challenge you to start using these phrases and let us know how they work for you. Share your thoughts and insights in the ScaleUp Edge Community.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

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