Learning How and When to Ask for Help

If you have ever worked on a high-profile project, you probably found yourself in situations where you may need to ask for help.

Whether it’s the coworker or project manager who has the most pressing request, or a co-worker who has a tedious issue they think you’re better qualified to handle, the first step is knowing how and when to ask for help.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of 10 common tips for asking for help and building on these suggestions to make the most of every opportunity you can. This list should give you a good start to finding that right person to help you out whenever you need it.

Before you hit send on an email for help

Have a plan before you send an email out to get help. Whether it’s emailing every colleague you know who works in the same department or asking your boss if there’s anyone you can reach out to, prepare for the conversation.

Take the time to set up a calendar meeting or set up a quick text message conversation with the person before you give them your request. You’ll be less likely to lose momentum and disrupt their day if they already have an inkling of what you want to discuss or are sure that you want to discuss it.

Having a clear idea of what you’re asking for

Before asking, have a solid understanding of what you want. For instance, do you need help with a sales pitch, or are you looking for a shortcut on a puzzle?

These details will help you decide the best time to reach out to people and hone your message.

Before you ask, you may also want to ask the person for the exact title that’s on your to-do list. This will help you build in an expectations dialogue when you finally get to the question of help.

Don’t assume everyone will be happy to help you.

While it’s helpful to be nice when you meet someone for the first time, it’s important to remember that only people with a specific skillset are good at helping others. Don’t assume everyone will jump in and help out, even if they’re friends.

Going out of your way to help someone who doesn’t have the skills or interest in helping you will actually be counterproductive. You’ll just be confused on why a different person who is on your team can’t help you.

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