The Most Effective Ways To Ask For Help

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Sometimes it can be intimidating to ask for help - even though it might be really needed. So, what’s the best way to go about asking? Try these tips next time you need help from a friend, family member, or stranger.

Be a giver.

Asking people for help becomes much easier when you’re giving help to others more than you are requesting it. By being the type of person that is always offering help freely, you’ll feel less intimidated to ask someone to return the favor.

Make it clear that you’ve tried to help yourself.

If you’ve tried hard to figure things out for yourself first, whoever your asking for help with be more willing to give their assistance. To do this, briefly explain what you’ve tried on your own. Make sure to get to the point fast and be specific about what you’ve tried so as not to waste the other person’s time.

Show that you’ve acted on persons advice in the past.

If someone has given you help or advice in the past and you haven’t acted on it, it could have been insulting to them. Just keep that in mind if you’re asking someone for help again that you’ve previously asked. People are more willing to help others if they know their help will be fully appreciated and put to good use. If you’ve taken help from them in the past, a good way to open the conversation would be, “You were so helpful last time I was in ___________. I’m in this situation now and I could really use your help again if you’re willing to hear me out. What do you say?”

Think about the timing of your ask.

When you are planning on making an ask, make sure to be aware of the other person’s schedule, committments, and obligations. Asking for help could be well received if the other person doesn’t have much going on and they can fully focus their attention on your situation. On the other hand, asking for help can quickly become an annoyance to the other person if it is interrupting their work schedule or personal time. Try saying something like, "I'd like to ask you for help with something. When would be the best time to talk about it?"

Use the “door in the face” method.

This technique is when you ask for a large request first with the full understanding that the other person will say “no”. You then follow up with a much smaller request that seems much more reasonable than the prior request. This technique should be used sparingly and can come off as a little sneaky if used too often.

Don’t make them guess.

When you ask for help, make sure you’re very clear about what you need. Confusion can easily frustrate the other party. After all, they are there to help, but they cannot do that if you’re not clear about what you need help on. Clarity removes confusion.