Skip to content

How to ask for help


5 Ways to ask for help when the going gets tough

“How to ask for help (via Pam Slim)

  1. Define the root of the project, and who it will help
    People like to participate in a cause that has positive impact in the world. So while your health, happiness and personal prosperity may be of interest to them, more important is who this project will help and why it is important. An example:”Hi Bill, I am working on a program to help local girls in my community learn how to code, which can have a huge impact on their school success and future careers. Do you have 10 minutes to talk with me about some possible funding sources for this project?”
  2. Choose someone to ask for help who has a bit of accrued reciprocity interest
    If you are the kind of person who helps others, you should have some folks in your community who would LOVE to help you when asked. Remember all those times people have said to you “If there is ever anything I can do to help you, just let me know!”? Now is the time to go to them with a request for help.
  3. Be specific in your ask, and make it manageable.
    There is a difference between asking “Hey, would you look at my website and give me some feedback?” or “Do you have 10 minutes to look at the first two sentences of my About Page and tell me if they are clear and compelling?” Few people have multiple hours to set aside to work on someone else’s project, so keep your asks for help very feasible.
  4. Always give a non-shaming way out
    Even if someone wants to help you, they may be busy, strapped, or somehow unable to do it. Be sure to include with your request:”If you are unable to do this, no problem! Just let me know with a quick reply to this email so I can get the (information) (blurb) (contribution) (etc) from someone else. I appreciate you very much!”
  5. Follow up with thank you
    When someone does take the time to help you, be sure to follow up with a thank you. If you are a thank you card writer, that is a lovely gesture. If not, a phone call, heart-felt text message, social media shout-out or big hug will go a long way to let them know they are appreciated.”


“5 Ways to Ask for Help:

  1. Describe the specific thing you need help with in clear language.“I have a great software product, but I have no idea which conference to speak at in the New York area to attract ideal customers.”“I need to change the header on my WordPress site, but I don’t know how to do it.”

    “I need to get my own health insurance, but don’t know where to get started.”

  2. Send a Tweet. I consider Twitter much better than Google search, because all answers are vetted by people I already know, like and trust. If you do not have a big Twitter following yet, ask someone who does. I constantly poll my 30k Twitter circle with questions from friends and clients. Make sure your question is clear, brief and includes “thanks.”Example: “Does anyone know a great health insurance broker in the Seattle area? Thanks in advance!”
  3. Use LinkedIn Answers. LinkedIn is full of smart and helpful people who can answer a whole range of professional questions. If someone answers your question, be sure thank them, extend and invitation to connect, and let them know you are available to answer questions for them as well.
  4. Attend free calls and webinars. I have been hosting a free monthly call for the past three years at Escape from Cubicle Nation. I get a huge range of questions, and there are no strings attached to participating. Look for similar offers in your market – companies often host free training on their products, and other coaches or consultants do the same. Sometimes you will be pitched to buy something at the end, but that is a reasonable price to pay for free information.
  5. Ask friends and colleagues from your professional organizations or programs. You may have a great connection with someone that attends a monthly networking meeting you go to, or is in an educational program that you participate in. Send a direct message to them, and see if they can help you. Some of these early exchanges can lead to more extended learning partnerships like masterminds. I met Philippa Kennealy, from Entrepreneurial MD in a program run by Andrea Lee, and after some brief exchanges, she and I became mastermind partners for the whole first year we started our blogs (way back in 2005!). She is a big reason why I got early momentum and success on my blog.”


Posted on: August 15, 2016, 6:47 am Category: Uncategorized

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.