1. Decide what you are asking for. Know what your problem is and ask for a specific thing. Don’t be ambiguous. If your car is broken and you need $300.00 to get it fixed – ask for that amount. If you need to speak to the bank about missing a mortgage payment, ask for that. Don’t pussy foot around.
2. Ask the right person. Don’t get in the habit of assuming that someone will help. Ask the person who not only has the means but who is most likely to help you out. If you think that your brother ought to help you out but he never has been that helpful, don’t put yourself through the grief of asking. Ask a reasonable person who has the means and is likely to say yes to a request. It is also best to ask the person who has he authority to make the decision.
3. Be open to alternative suggestions. There is more than one way to solve a problem. Don’t let stubbornness get in the way of a solution that will work. If you ask a friend to pay for car repairs, he may suggest that you use a friend of his. Maybe a mechanic friend owes him a favour – be open to an alternative solution.
4. Ask again. Maybe the alternative suggestion won’t work. Maybe his buddy can’t fix the car until Wednesday but you have to drive your child to a volleyball tournament on Tuesday. If the original request is the best one, be clear about that. Explain your concern and clearly ask again.
5. Close the deal. It is tough to ask for help but if you are taking this tough step, you need a clear response. Maybe will not get your out of your jam. Don’t ask an open ended question. Be clear in the final closing question. Will you help me out? Yes/No. Get the details of how it will unfold. Will we run to the bank now? Can you write me a check? What time will I drop the car off? Don’t leave these details hanging and do not walk away from the conversation without a clear response. It may be a “big ask” in which case the person may have to consult with another person. In this case, ask to set up a time to meet again for the final approval. Don’t leave the ball in their court.
It can be tough to ask for a favour from someone but if you have found the courage to ask, do it well.