The one thing that every successful entrepreneur I’ve interviewed agrees upon is the tremendous power behind the skill of “the ask.”  In layman’s terms, this means asking a real human for help.

Asking for what you want isn’t intuitive for most people, especially women and Canadians. If you’re Google on the other hand, you have the “ask a computer for help” down to an art. You can type or even speak your question, only to find thousands of pages of answers rendered in less than 1.6 seconds.

But sometimes that’s not good enough. Sometimes you need to ask a human for something only they can provide. This is where the art of the ask comes in.

With the ‘Power of the Ask’ you can:

  • Get an answer with reasoning you can trust

  • Learn from an expert

  • Create a new relationship

When is it okay to ask for help?

All day everyday. Well that’s a tad exaggerated, but you can and should ask for help whenever you actually need it.

Does the answer to your question have significant influence on your life, business, decisions and future? Then it’s probably a good one to ask.

Who can I ask?

Anyone you want, and I’m not kidding. It could be a friend, old teacher, mentor, to that amazing NASA scientist you read about on the Internet.  If they’re human, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t feel comfortable contacting them. This may feel weird, but suck it up and do it anyways. What if they respond? Don’t you feel like an ass for the thought of not doing it?

I’ve reached out to NASA scientists, Internet safety experts, Fortune 500 executives, and even television producers. And they’ve all answered.

How to ask

There is no formula for how to ask for something either. If someone says there is, that would make the request pre-formulated and therefore fake; and them a liar.

If you want something, write down or verbally try to express the real reason. Chances are it will sound 100 per cent more genuine than any cookie-cutter blurb you find on the Internet.

Be sure to include:

  • Tell them why you need their help

  • Acknowledge how they relate/have experience with this issue

  • A question formulated in a way that isn’t impossible to answer. If you ask what the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is, you’ll get an equally as horrible response as “42” (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy).

What if they say no?

The worst thing that can happen within “the ask” is that they can say no. It happens. Don’t take it personally.  Go about your help adventures with the next best person. No kidding.

What the world needs is answers.  So start asking.

Would you recommend this article?

Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication. Click this link to send me a note →

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Previous articleWhy tablets are overpowering computers, and how it will affect your business
Next article‘Manage your own energy’ to manage your business: Bob Dorf
Ashley Huffman
Startup, technology and girls in tech evangelist. Can be found behind the scenes at Nano Magnetics Ltd getting things done. Professional @Nanodots builder and Guinness World Record holder. Fan of life hacks, Scrum and WOW, in no particular order. Self proclaimed Twitter addict.