Trust Your Instincts When Seeking Advice
You’re asking for help for a reason; see where it goes
A client had an opportunity to be featured in a magazine about a specific project he had completed. The magazine’s editor asked him to have someone write an article and she would edit it to fit the parameters of the magazine. The client reached out to me to see if I could help.
In making the request, he sent over a half-page of notes on the project and one before and after photo. He said the editor asked for 750-900 words. I asked if we could set up an interview time, but he was too busy to do that and asked if I could just write something up from what he had sent.
There wasn’t much to go on – maybe 250 words. I could add another 100-150 words about the client’s background, but I needed more details. I asked the client if there was someone else on the project I could talk to. He said they were just too busy to make the time.
I sent three versions of the article, and none were satisfactory to the client. He wanted a glowing feature like others had in the magazine, but he didn’t understand what it takes to create a piece of writing like that.
In the end, the magazine chose to fill the space with some industry news and the client missed out on the opportunity.
Years later, the client and I met up at a business function. He came right over to me and apologized for the feature story interaction between us. His daughter had recently graduated from journalism school, and he had been given a first-hand experience of the work that goes into writing a good story. He understood now, what he hadn’t understood then.
Generally, when you are seeking advice from a professional, it is because they have some knowledge or skills that you don’t possess. If you decided to ask them for help, you already recognized that they have more information than you do about something, so listen to what they have to say. You can always decide later if you want to follow their advice or do something else, but since you sought them out, get your money’s worth and hear them out.
I used to see this when I taught golf lessons all the time. People would come to me with a problem in the golf game and then they would argue with me about the advice, referencing an online video they saw at 4:00am when they couldn’t sleep! I would always ask why they came to me if they had a solution from the video. The response? “Well, you’re the golf pro!”
Trust your instincts when you seek out skills or knowledge that you need. You went to that person for a reason. Give them a chance to provide you with what you need.
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