I’m an ideas guy. When I have an idea, I run it by my brother, my girlfriend, my few best friends, and my mother (unless the idea has anything to do with sports or technology). It’s great to have such a supportive group of people around to help me clarify my thoughts. They know me well enough to give me honest feedback and I know if I run my ideas by all of them, I’ll get a good sense of what people will think. They are my sounding board.
I will run dozens of ideas by them on a weekly basis. I am not trying to impress them, recruit them, or sell to them. The only thing I care about is refining my ideas, that way when I do meet someone I’m trying to make a good impression with, I know how to project focus & progress. These are the two things you want to show people when interested in impressing, selling, recruiting, partnering, etc. You must show that you have focus on your goals and that you are making progress getting there. Without a formalized sounding board, you are very likely to crap out all of your pent up thoughts and ideas to the people you should be messaging clarity and progress. Without a sounding board, your ideas are less crisp. You haven’t had the practice of delivering your 30 second pitch and you’re less clear about your direction.
That is why it is important to remember to keep you sounding board within your tight knit group. Your sounding board should be exactly that–a group of trusted advisers that can help you with ideation, not execution.