Friday, March 02, 2012

Help: Giving and Getting

A funny thing has been happening lately. All kinds of requests and inquiries from people are coming seemingly from out of the woodwork.

I say seemingly because it's not like I'm suddenly putting myself out there more. I'm doing speeches and interviews and articles and blog posts and all the other things on about the same pace I've been doing them for a while now. And I'm not seeing any major surge in likes, comments, follows, page views or tweets.

But suddenly I seem to be on everyone's list:
  • A grad student doing research on the use of performance skills in professional training came across my work and wants to interview me.
  • A woman from New York in the final stages of interviewing at a big Wall Street firm wrote asking if I did coaching on how she could better present herself and negotiate her compensation package.
  • A young woman having what she called a "quarter-life crisis" wrote to me asking for career advice.
I tried to help all of them:
  • The grad student was actually surprised I wrote back (and so quickly). We're talking Monday.
  • The Wall Street woman was a tough one. I told her I'm not really scaled right now for the kind of coaching she's looking for, but we talked for about 20 minutes and I shared a few tips and anecdotes from my own experience. I even offered to look over any kind of talking points or messages she came up with.
  • And I talked the quarter-life crisis woman through some options and ways of thinking about next steps.
My feeling is, I want to try to help as many people as possible. I spend every day reaching out to people asking them for things -- can I be on your radio or TV show, would you consider me as a speaker, are you interested in a guest post/article, etc. So it's nice to be in a position to help others.

And maybe some good karma will come back to me. Indirectly or directly. Maybe the Wall Streeter will get the job and hire me to come into the company to speak or consult. You never know.

Of course I reserve the right to start saying no more often if it become overwhelming. But honestly this is what everybody should be doing -- helping others. Especially these days.

And I do have my limits. Here's an email I received this morning:

Hi, Rob -- My name is Melanie and I am a marketing associate at [redacted]. We recently came across actlikeyoumeanbusiness.wordpress.com and would love to work with you. Your book is such an impressive and entertaining resource for business people. We loved the blog post you shared about the law firm not looking outside their industry for creative ideas.

Please email me at [redacted] if you are interested in learning more. I look forward to hearing from you.
I actually had to read it a few times to understand what was going on. Are they asking for my services? Do they want to partner up on something? I determined it's just a fairly subtle (or very bad) sales pitch. Really odd. If you're going to pitch me, pitch me. Tell me what you offer and how I can benefit. Don't expect me to write back to "learn more." This is even worse than a hard sell, as it tries to be sneaky and insults my intelligence at the same time.

I've got a feeling this is just the beginning.

1 comment:

jennifer anderson said...
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