As the saying goes, if you want something done, ask someone busy. Unfortunately it's those same busy people who often know the answer to your question – coz’ they've probably been there and got the tee shirt. So how do you approach somebody who you think has the answer but who you're worried about disturbing or even being rejected by?
As always there are things that we can do to help as well as hinder ourselves. Here are a few do's and don’ts of getting help from somebody. Of course you might also want to bear these in mind when you are the one who is being asked for help.
· Keep the request short and simple - so that the helper doesn't get fidgety
· Really think about your question and boil your issue down to a specific need - they will thank you for it by giving you more time and effort than you expected
· Keep the introduction short and keep the detail out of it until you are asked for it - you may learn as much from their probing as you do from their final answer
· Lavish the person with fawning praise and gratitude - they don't need it
· Downplay the importance of your question or request - it's like saying that you're wasting their time
· Reject what you're given - you asked for it
As I said, these do’s and don’ts are as useful to the people giving the help as the ones seeking it. I say that because if you are being constantly pestered by time consuming requests for vague help, rather than becoming increasingly irritated by these people, you can actually help them, in the first instance, by explaining how you prefer to operate in the helping role.
The giving and seeking of help is all part of team play but both halves of the ask-and-respond equation can play their part in making the transaction work in both people’s favour.