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The Best Way to Ask for a Favor

Don’t Apologize

When you ask for help, you may feel inclined to apologize for taking up their time and energy. Don’t. 

This is a bad idea because putting yourself down makes the other person feel less joy in helping you. Many of us apologize too much anyway.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Best Way to Ask for a Favor

The Best Way to Ask for a Favor

https://lifehacker.com/the-best-way-to-ask-for-a-favor-1827173655

lifehacker.com

5

Key Ideas

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 line in a group chat. 

Asking a group leads to the “diffusion of responsibility” phenomenon, where nobody feels like they have to help because they think someone else will. 

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. 

Don’t Apologize

When you ask for help, you may feel inclined to apologize for taking up their time and energy. Don’t. 

This is a bad idea because putting yourself down makes the other person feel less joy in helping you. Many of us apologize too much anyway.

Don’t Hesitate to Circle Back to People

Just because someone didn’t help you before doesn’t mean they won’t help you now

In fact, research suggests they’re more likely to help. Because they want to feel better about rejecting you previously and repair the relationship.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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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"You're going to love helping me!"
"You're going to love helping me!"

Don't try and convince someone how much they will enjoy helping you. It reeks of control and is presumptive. It drains their joy out of helping.

How they feel is for them to decide.

A small favor

One common tactic is to portray the help we need as so small, that it is barely a favor. "Would you add these updates to the database? It won’t take you more than five minutes.”

It is conveying that you think the work the other person does is easy, quick, trivial and not very taxing. That’s not a great way to enlist help. You might also underestimate the size of the favor. Do not presume it won’t take them very long the next time you ask them for help.

Scorekeeping

While reciprocity does make people more likely to comply with the request, it also makes us feel controlled, which takes all the fun out of it.

Reminding someone that they owe you a favor does not create good feelings. Scorekeeping is fundamentally bad for relationships.

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A raise
... is a recognition that you’re now contributing at a higher level than when your salary was last set. 

A raise isn’t a favor or a gift; it’s a way for employers to pay fair market valu...

It’s normal to ask

It’s not greedy or entitled to ask for a raise.  Unless you work somewhere truly dysfunctional, it’s understood that you work for money. This is okay.

  • you’re not asking for an amount that’s wildly out of sync with the market for your work, and 
  • you have a track record of strong work.
Be emotionally intelligent about your timing

You shouldn’t ask to talk about your salary when your manager is especially harried or having a bad day or nervous about impending budget cuts. 

On the other hand, if you’ve just saved the day with an important client or garnered rave reviews for a high-profile project, or if your boss has seemed particularly pleased with you lately, now might be a particularly good time to make the request.

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