Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Walk with the wise

Absolutely the best business/life decision I've made in the past few years was to start hanging out with people who are smarter than me.

It's like Proverbs 13:20, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

If you want to make a name for yourself, you must make friends, hang out with and learn from other people who have already made a name for themselves.

Here is the process I’ve been following for years:

STEP ONE: Initial Contact
Call or email someone you’d like to glean valuable advice from. Introduce yourself. If you have a mutual friend or contact, say that immediately. Explain to the person that you’re “young” (in age, job, career, etc.) and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to pick their brain. Suggest a breakfast or lunch meeting.

STEP TWO: Initial Meeting
Look sharp, arrive early and be prepared. Bring something to take notes with and any relevant items you’d like to share with your wise friend. Have a list of questions prepared. Shut up and listen. Take notes furiously. And when the check comes, insist on paying.

The minute you get back to your office, write a thank you note either via email or handwritten. (Handwritten is better.) Promise to keep your wise friend updated on your progress.

STEP FOUR: Progress Report
On a frequent, yet not too annoying basis, call/email the person with an update on your progress. Be sure to tell he or she which pieces of their advice you actually used. If by using that advice you’ve won an award, made a sale or received any kind of visual representation of success, send them a copy.

This post dedicated to my wisest friend, Shep Hyken.

Do you walk with the wise?

Contact five new wise people in the next month. Let me know what you learn!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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