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J. Kelly Hoey - Build Your Dream Network

Do you hate asking for help?

Time to address (again) the elephant in the networking room: the fear of asking.

Too often, we stifle our questions for fear of seeming incompetent or fear of being needy, or the fear of seeming vulnerable.

As highlighted in a New York Times article, the fear of the potential reciprocity can also deter us from seeking help.

Networking is fundamentally grounded in reciprocity and balance. Someone may have helped us in a time of need, AND that does not necessarily mean we owe them a massive debt. What it does mean is that we should be ready and willing to lend a hand when they need it.

Interestingly, our reluctance to ask for help may not stem from complex issues like imposter syndrome or intense office dynamics or “what can I ever do for them” reciprocity fears. It could simply be because we don’t want to inconvenience others. This is a valid concern, AND it shouldn’t prevent you from asking for help.

Consider this advice from my book, Build Your Dream Network:

“The key is to know what people are capable of taking on and what’s going on in their lives at any moment. So you know how you can help them and what you can reasonably ask them to do.”

What you can reasonably ask them to do”. Key phrase folks.

Before you discard your ‘ask’ as inconvenient, consider whether it is too cumbersome, and ask yourself:

  1. Can I break my ask down into smaller, more manageable parts?
  2. Have I checked to see if the other person has the capacity to help?
  3. Can I deliver my ask in a straightforward manner without causing inconvenience?

Making your ask clear and convenient for the other person (to provide an answer) is the key.

Here’s my ask for you: let me know if this advice resonates with you.

And, go ahead, ask for help when you need it – you might be pleasantly surprised by the response.

*BTW this networking pro-tip was created from this BYDN podcast episode with the able assistance of Contenda, and yes, an introduction to Contenda came from my network.

J. Kelly Hoey

Networking Expert + Career Transformation Coach + Author + Speaker, Kelly Hoey looks at "networking" through a new, modern, fresh lens, offering you (who are pursuing and perhaps struggling with your big ambitions), advice on how to connect for success in a hyper-connected world that is woefully short in its attention span. Her network-building advice is relatable, instilling confidence with actionable insights and practical information.