4 Things To Do Before You Ask Someone For Advice - Sarah Doody
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4 Things You Must Do Before You Ask Someone A Question Or Advice

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On 16, Aug 2017 | No Comments | In Business, Everyday UX | By Sarah Doody

One of my friends, Tami, is a really great communicator. She doesn’t waste time and she gets to the point. A lot of people could think it’s abrasive or cold to receive an email reply from her that’s only a short sentence. But the truth is, she’s simply being smart with her time and not adding clutter to our already busy lives!

I want to give you a tip on the art of asking questions. Before I ask anyone a question, I always try and do these 4 things to make sure I’m asking a well researched and specific question.

Why? Because the quality of the answer is dependent on the quality of the question asked! Also, people are busy! Chances are, if you’re asking someone a question there are probably 10 other people asking that person questions as well!

To be brutally honest, I am completely overwhelmed with questions. People send me email, private messages on Twitter, LinkedIn messages, comments on YouTube, and try and reach me in Slack channels I’m in. One of my big pet peeves is that people ask me questions and I think “have you ever Googled that?” or I think “I wrote 5 articles on that topic”. I wish that more people did their homework before they contacted me!

So before you ask me, or someone a question or advice, do the following:

  • Google the question first. Seriously, I can’t believe the number of people who ask me questions that could easily be answered with one Google search! You might even find that the person you’re asking has already answered the question online!
  • Keep it brief. Can someone answer your question in 5 minutes or less? As a good rule, try to keep your question to the length of a tweet!
  • Make it specific. Don’t ask to pick someone’s brain! Don’t ask if you can go to coffee and have no agenda! Ask something specific. And if your question requires 3 paragraphs of backstory, then chances are your question is too complex!
  • Don’t ask for free work. For example, I have tons of people ask me to review their portfolio for free. But, I also have a whole course about UX portfolios! The whole reason I made the course was so that I could serve more people at once! And honestly, my course is much for affordable than a one-on-one session would be with me! I could go on and on, but I think that example makes my point!

So before you ask anyone a question, put yourself in their shoes. Do a quick review of your question to make sure it’s actionable, specific, brief, and not trying to get free work! And finally, please Google your question first because chances are, the person may have already answered it online!

And if you want to ask me a question, I’ve tried to make it easy for you and me. On my contact page I’ve given you answers to tons of the common questions I’m answered. I also created a very specific contact form that has built in form logic so I can gather crucial information based on what you want to ask me. So please make use of that resource that I’ve created for you!

I love helping, answering questions, and giving advice! But it’s hard to do it one-on-one and that’s why I put so much effort into things like my newsletter, my Twitter, articles, and my Facebook page!

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