Heidi Grant is a psychologist and leadership author that I first “met” many years ago through her small book 9Things Successful People Do Differently. But that’s not what today’s blog is about. It’s about something awesome that Heidi wrote more recently, but it goes a different direction. Let me explain.
Today, we are talking about asking people to help. In one organization that I work with we have hundreds of volunteers. These people give their time and effort (and even their money) to help further the good work of our organization. These people are the heroes! They deserve our appreciation AND they need to be asked to serve in the right way.
But that’s a problem. We have some people who are good at asking others for help (staff, volunteers, other workers), and some people who are just lousy at it. Great news! It’s something that can be easily taught, and within a few days you’ll be recruiting like a pro!
I recently saw this excerpt from a Heidi Grant blog that I shared with the entire organization. I trust it will be helpful for LeaderTribers as well!
WhenYou Ask a Colleague for Help, Be Clear and Specific
Asking for help can be uncomfortable, so most of us avoid it, or do it awkwardly. But you can’t always tackle a full plate of work alone.To get support from your colleagues, figure out what you really need. What task can someone else do that will save you a ton of time and that doesn't take a lot of explaining? Next, identify the right person to hand it off to. Choose someone who actually can help in the way you need. Then make a clear request, being specific about what you want them to do, and when. This is where most of us bungle it: Because asking for help is awkward, we say something vague (“Would you like to…” or “If you have time…”), which undermines the request. Accept whatever help your colleague offers — even if it's not exactly what you asked for. And don’t forget to say thank you.
Too often we unintentionally demean people by the way we ask! You never want to say “...it’s really not that hard” or you’d belittle the effort you are going to put forth. Don’t say,“I know you’re busy but if you could...” because you really don’t know their schedule, priorities or energy level. So just be straight up!
“It would be very meaningful to me if you would join our team by greeting people when they arrive at our event. Your kind smile and joyful attitude make you the perfect person to help our organization. I have a two-page pdf and four-minute video that will ensure you achieve our first impression goals. Will you please serve us in this way?”
Notice the 5 elements to a great request: Add meaning, be specific, compliment them, tie it to the cause, and help them succeed.
Do this and you’ll get a better YES and more engaged friends!
Finally, back to Heidi Grant. Just because I love you (and her work), I’ve attached the 2-page summary of her book 9Things Successful People Do Differently!
Have a great week!
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