Feb 6, 2007

How to ask for help

I'm starting to switch off from conversations where someone wants me to help them.

Don't get me wrong.

I like helping people. Heck, I like it so much that I made it my job :-)

*Rant begins*

However, there is one fundamental difference when you are paying me for my help, and when you want me to help you without payment.

That difference is, when I am being paid, it's my job to understand your needs. However, if you are seeking someone's help and are not paying them for it, the onus lies on you to articulate your needs.

For example, take a look at an email someone posted on a training emailing list:

Till date, i was a Sales Training Manager, recently i am given the
responsibility to handle all training fucntions of my organisation.

Can anyone help me in the following regards.

*1) Training Needs*
a) Training Need identification format
b) How to prepare Training Need identification form?
c) What are the things required to be considered to prepare the same?
d) Kindly provide me with some sample Training Need identification for

I mean, these are topics on which folks have written tonnes of books. This chap needs help on email? I can guarantee that either someone on the list will guide him to the most basic training textbook, or (more likely!) he won't get any response.

When you ask for help, specially on any online forum, make your needs clear. Don't ask questions for which there can be 2 pages long answers. Questions that will help you get answers are the "Who" and "What" variety "What books are great reference for Training Needs Analysis?" or "Who are the best trainers for Consultative Sales Skills programs?" will evoke an answer.

If your question is more complex, give as much of a background as you can without becoming boring. Yes, folks, that means you should have some great writing skills.

Unfortunately seeing what passes off for emails on some egroups and on online forum like Orkut I am starting to lose hope :(

And the most basic of all: Check if the person you are asking help from is the person who can help you in anyway. There is nothing as irritating as asking "Oh, you don't do that? Then what exactly do you do?"

Rant over.