Don't underestimate the Power of Asking
Power of “asking” is incredible! Ask questions, help, advice, suggestion, feedback, ideas, etc.
In my journey of designing and building, I met some brilliant, honest, and humble human beings who are helping us along this journey and extending their unconditional support. They genuinely want to help us with all the resources & skills they possess. Without their support, I highly doubt that we would have been able to build and shape up Peerlist the way it is.
The thing I strongly realized is that most people are kind and generous and ready to help in any way possible. And it’s a very powerful thing! But how do you unlock that power? How do you let people help you?
It has a simple answer. By asking them for help. By asking them for feedback, opinion, and suggestions. By asking them questions. Asking will enable those amazing people to help you out! Otherwise how they will know that you need help? Duhhh…
Imagine, you go to a Chinese restaurant. The food is served and it looks delicious. But there is one problem. You don’t know how to use chopsticks (damn it!). You never used them in your entire life. And you want to give it a try. But you can’t use it. Just can’t. You’re stuck. What you will do? Stay hungry? You are too shy to call the waiter? You will feel embarrassed to tell the waiter that you don’t know how to use chopsticks?
NO! You will ASK the waiter to give you the fork. Simple. You ask. Because the waiter will never know or realize that you can’t use chopsticks (unless you drop some spaghetti). Basically, there is only one way to enable people to help you out is by asking them!
Why we don’t ask?
We don’t ask because we fear rejection! In our mind, we already took a no for an answer. And I totally understand that this fear won’t go just like that. But if you ask once, there is a 50% chance of getting a positive outcome. But if you don’t ask, there’s a 100% chance of failure. You have to make a choice, whether you want to overcome your fear and ask and keep asking till you get that first Yes or fail.
As I mentioned at the beginning that most people are humble and helpful. If you ask them, you will enable them to help you and get positive outcomes. There is no harm in asking. It’s totally ok to get a no.
People don’t say no because you have a terrible idea or you’re a terrible person. They say no because it might not be right time for them. May be your solution won’t solve their problem. May be they don’t have money to buy it.
Art of asking
The way public speaking, networking is art. Asking is also an art. At least I look at it in that way. If I have a problem and want to ask someone for help, I make sure I have vested all my possible solutions. While asking I do mention that “I have tried these solutions in this way but no luck, do you think I missed something to try?” It helps the other person to get the context, suggest a solution which you missed, may tell you the better way to try again, or refer you to the right person.
Before approaching a person, do your homework about the topic and the person. Let them know that you have done your research. It conveys that you’re serious about your ask.
Also, in case of asking the question, there is no right or wrong question… but the right timing always helps. You can send them a DM (don’t send only hi/hello) asking your question followed by why you asking. And let them take their time to revert back to you. Wait as much as you can, because frequent follow-up may be annoying.
The one tip which always worked for me while DMing people is that I get to the point (what is my ask) after introducing myself. Then follow up with why they should give me what I am asking. It has a ~90% success rate 😄
Just ask! Just go and talk to people. If you were holding yourself back till now, it’s time to send that DM, it’s the time to make that call, it’s the time to send that email, ask questions, ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid of rejection. Don’t underestimate the power of asking…
And also don’t forget to help out people when they reach out to you.
The featured image original concept is by Janis Ozolins
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Good insights. Could relate with the Chopsticks example
BTW, it actually happened to me at a restaurant in Shanghai, and it took us 10 whole minutes to convey we need spoons. At the end of which we were rewarded with wooden ice cream spoons to eat the noodles.
Good article. Don’t be afraid to look stupid, and the fear of asking leaves you.