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July 11, 2013

How to Ask for Help Without Sounding Needy

While most people do not hesitate to ask for help at home, it can be an entirely different story when it comes to requesting assistance at work. This is usually due to the concern that asking for help can make you appear inept or simply lazy. However, doing the job wrong is often worse than not doing it at all and could have major repercussions that continue further down the line. It is always best to ask for help when it is necessary by implementing the following tips to ensure that you come across as proactive instead of needy.

Don’t Put It Off

Interestingly, the first response many people have when they need help is procrastination. Whether it is from embarrassment or the hope that a solution will automatically present itself, it is too easy to simply mumble that you are “working on it” when asked to give a report on your progress. Unfortunately, this only delays the project and could negatively impact your team. Instead, identify someone who can provide assistance and set up a time to meet and discuss your problem.

Lead with a Compliment

Asking for help can be difficult because no one wants to bother team members, who have their own deadlines and goals. However, this concern is often greatly exaggerated because most people enjoy helping someone if they are given enough time to fit it into their schedule. If you are worried that everyone else is too busy to help, start your request with the reason why you chose that person for help. Did he or she impress you with a similar project? If so, let the person know that this is why you came to them for help. Chances are, he or she will be too flattered to be annoyed.

Present Possible Solutions

Brainstorming and trying several possible solutions before asking for help will keep you from appearing needy. While you do not want to mess up a project, run through a few possible scenarios that you can offer as potential solutions. This way, you can present your options to make asking for help a collaborative effort. Even if none of your solutions work, you will still impress the person you ask for help with your efforts.

Remember that, at some point, everyone will need help as they move through the learning process. By tackling your problem now, you may one day be prepared to provide help to someone else.

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