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Ask for Help

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Building rapport > Ask for Help

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Ask the person for help. Make sure they can give the help without much effort. Some of the things you could ask for include:

  • Ask for their opinion about something.
  • Ask about something in which you know they are knowledgeable.
  • Ask them to pass the salt at the dinner table (or something equally trivial).
  • Ask them for directions to somewhere.
  • Ask for their recommendations for somewhere to eat.

When they give you the help you ask, be clearly grateful, though not effusively so. This should result in them liking you more. When they feel more attached to you, you can ask for more significant items.

If you are asking them for help often, look for ways to 'balance the books' in giving them things in return, in particular with ways that are easy for you. Remember that attention and gratitude contribute to this 'social capital' account.

Example

You know about this. What do you suggest we do?

I'm terrible at IT. How do I save this document into the shared database?

Discussion

When you ask for help, it seems you will end up being the one obliged to them, and hence in a position of weakness. Yet the reverse often happens, that the person becomes more willing to help. This is because in helping you, they become more attached to you. When they have to do something that indicates that they care, they change their beliefs to consistently align with their actions, and so end up actually caring more about you.

It feels good to help, and when helping is easy, you get that boost for little cost. You also get the good-feeling gratitude of the other person.

This is a method that Benjamin Franklin used. He won around a critic by asking to borrow a book from them of which they were very proud to own. This worked as the critic realized that they had more in common (love of books) than had originally seemed.

See also

Ben Franklin Effect, Reciprocity Norm, Attachment Theory, Consistency Principle

 

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