You’d be 10x more effective at work if you changed how you asked for help.
For most people, asking for help is some combination of:
- Using a vague and unclear request.
- Selfishly only focusing on getting what they want.
- Not thinking about what outcome they’re after.
- Leaving the request open-ended and without a clear deadline.
- Trying to be too polite.
But with a little structure, you can completely change how you ask for help.
Use the [will you help me X by Y so that Z] structure to instantly improve the help you get
Yes, it’s really that simple, but let’s break it down a little:
- Will you help me – Start off with a clear request for help.
- A specific “what” (X) – Get specific about what you want this other person to do. This means spending some time actually thinking about what you need from them.
- Get specific about “when” (Y) – Make sure to clarify when you need this help (e.g. “by the end of the day,” “this week,” or “right now”)
- Share the “why” (Z) – Help the person you’re asking to help you by providing some context about why this is important and why their help is needed.
This format works so well because it’s specific, timely, and direct. And it’s super easy to use.
Use these examples for some inspiration
Will you help me send this invoice by completing your timesheet today so that we don't get behind on billing?
Will you help me by reviewing the two options I sent you before our meeting so that we can make the most of our limited time together?
Will you help me by adding your comments by Friday morning so that we give the client the best presentation possible?
Will you help me spread this idea by liking and sharing this post after you've read it so that more people can get better at asking for help too?