Reflect for a moment on how well you leverage your networks to tap into the insights, contacts or ideas you need to achieve your goals? Do you ask the people you know to share their knowledge or time with you? Do you ask to be introduced to people or for access to information you need?
If you typically hesitate to ask for a favour you’re far from alone. Overcoming fears that hold us back from asking for what we want is a challenge many people face. Doing so, however, is essential to unlocking the potential of our networks to enable our success. Here, seven of the most important things you can do to call in a favour:
Long before you ask a favour, invest in building strong relationships. Trust and respect are at the heart of your ability to call upon a favour of anyone. Most people are willing to help those they regard as having integrity and gratitude. What else helps? Being willing to help others in turn.
The better positioned someone is to make a meaningful difference, the more likely they are to want to help. Think carefully about who the best person to call on is and recognise when the real favour you are asking is to be referred on to someone else.
Give and take
How would you feel about doing a favour for someone typically hesitant to lend a helping hand when asked to? The simple truth is that if people perceive you to be stingy with your time, energy or support they are unlikely to be willing to do you a favour when you need it.
Be willing to ask for what you want
Recognise that you deserve help as much as the next person – step forward to access the assistance you need. Be clear about what you are asking for and leave it with the other person to decide whether they are willing and able.
Work through fears
Among the most common things people fear are being seen as presumptuous, arrogant or even naïve for asking. Asking for a favour isn’t necessarily imposing and doesn’t have to be seen as overstepping boundaries. Don’t allow false beliefs to hold you back.
Don’t be afraid to follow people up and give people a gentle nudge. While well intentioned, some people can get distracted or run out of time for favours they promise. A delay in getting what you need doesn’t mean they no longer want to help.
Appreciate the support people give you and show it. Take the time to say thank and demonstrate your gratitude for the time, energy, money or talent invested in helping you. Even the smallest favour deserves acknowledgement. Remember you may want to call on an even bigger favour in the future.