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The Best Way to Ask for Help (And Actually Get It)

How To Ask For Help

When we ask for help, we tend to unconsciously add unnecessary details that enhance our image, justify or even state a request instead. When asking for help, take the bass out of your voice, the stiffness out of your spine, and the captain out of your industry and just say, with sincerity and humility: "Can you help me?"

Few people, especially face-to-face, will ever say "no," even a stranger. 

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The Best Way to Ask for Help (And Actually Get It)

The Best Way to Ask for Help (And Actually Get It)

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/the-best-way-to-ask-for-help-and-actually-get-it.html

inc.com

2

Key Ideas

Tips For Asking For Help

  • Don't frame your request.
  • Don't imply that you're above the other person.
  • Don't make your request too specific.
  • Say what you can't do, so the other can tell you what they think is the best course.
  • Show respect by acknowledging the capabilities of others.

How To Ask For Help

When we ask for help, we tend to unconsciously add unnecessary details that enhance our image, justify or even state a request instead. When asking for help, take the bass out of your voice, the stiffness out of your spine, and the captain out of your industry and just say, with sincerity and humility: "Can you help me?"

Few people, especially face-to-face, will ever say "no," even a stranger. 

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What Not To Do When Asking For Help
What Not To Do When Asking For Help
  • Instruct people.
  • Tell or imply that they should help our debt they don’t have a choice about it.
  • Using unnecessary prefaces makes people feel trapped.
  • Profusely apologi...
Reinforce A Request For Help
  • In-group: Assuring that you’re on the helper’s team and the team’s importance taps into our need to belong to and perpetuate supportive social circles. 
  • Positive identity: Creating or enhancing their recognition that they are uniquely placed to provide assistance and that they aren’t just “people who can help” but routinely helpful people. 
  • Effectiveness: People want to know the impact of the aid they will give. Knowing one’s actions have an effect is a fundamental human motivation. 
Research Results On Helpfulness
  • Studies indicate that people are willing to help more often than we expect.
  • Studies suggest that we underestimate how much effort those who do agree to help will put in.
  • Those who help others get to feel better with themselves than those who don’t.

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Tips To Better Ask For Help
Tips To Better Ask For Help
  1. Demonstrate that you've tried to help yourself. Briefly explain what you've tried independently so they know you've tried to solve your problem for yourself before.
  2. Demonstra...
Pick One Person to Ask

It’s best to ask one person instead of a group. Pick someone who you think can help you the most, or at least send individual requests to several people at once instead of dropping a li...

Make It Clear You Want Help

... and be specific about what you want.

Don't use phrases like “Can you do me a favor? ", because they are manipulative - they force someone to commit before you tell them what it is you need. A simple “Can you help me with [specific thing]?” will do.

Give a Timeframe and an Escape

When you ask for help, give the person some kind of timeframe or soft deadline. Phrases like “whenever you can” put more pressure on the person who is already doing you a favor. 

It’s also nice to offer them a way out if you know they’re busy. It ensures your request for help doesn’t feel like a demand. 

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