The Art of Giving and Getting Help - Part II

By Rajesh Setty

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In the first part of the article, we covered the necessary background and ideas for effectively giving help. In this article, we will cover some ideas to effectively get help.

Life would be simple (and too easy, in my opinion) if we could get to the “right” people when we need help and, they, immediately drop whatever they are doing and come to our rescue. Unfortunately, that can only happen in fairy tales or movies. It is far from reality.

So, what can we do to get the help when we need it most? Here is a simple approach to consider:

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Contribute early and frequently. There is one rule that has always helped me and that is “If you want to be successful, please help others to become successful.” Early in your careers (and always) your goal has to be to contribute and be an opportunity to other people. In simple terms, do as many favors as possible as early as possible in your career.

Build your emotional bank account. Everyone knows about the power of reciprocation but rarely do people use it wisely. You give and you get. The order is important and the intention is important too.

You have to give first before you can get. You will "get" for sure but it may not be from the same person to whom you gave. You are building your emotional bank account by giving. You may be able to withdraw from this bank account at a later date. Obviously, you can only withdraw if there are sufficient deposits in the account.

Extend your network – far and wide. With the attitude and approach outlined in the first two items, it should not be hard for you extend your network far and wide. However, building your network and long-term relationships do not happen by accident.

You need to put a conscious effort. Think about the last conference or a networking event that you attended. How many cards did you collect? More importantly, of the cards that you collected, with how many have you followed up and established a relationship?

Your power is directly proportional to your network. It is also not how many people you know but how do you know these people.

How is building a strong network relevant to getting help? The stronger your network, the easier it is to make a request for help.

Build your personal brand. In the last section, we talked about the importance of “how” you know the people. Personal branding looks at a different metric – how many people know you?

Your personal brand, simply put, is how people perceive you. Whether you want it or not, you have a personal brand. Whether it is powerful enough is something that you have to determine for yourself.

You can’t build a powerful personal brand overnight but once you build it, you have shortcuts for many things in life. In this context, more importantly, you will see that your requests will get priority treatment if you have a powerful personal brand.

Craft your request for help. This, I think is the most important part of getting help. The quality and the speed with which you will receive help will depend on how you craft your request for help.

This is more of a strategy than a tactic. In fact, if you employ a tactical approach to this, your will request will probably fail. The basic premise on which your request has to be based is not on what you want to get done but on what the other person will get by fulfilling the request.

So, think about this: Can you craft your request in such a way that the other person feels you are doing him a favor by asking him to fulfill this request?

If you can do that, you can be rest assured that you will get help whenever you want for the simple reason that you are focusing on the other person rather than yourself.

In summary, for what you want to get done, your goal is now to find out that person who will benefit most by doing that work for you. Is that easy? No. Can it be done? You bet!

Rajesh Setty is the president of Foresight Plus where he partners with select business leaders to provide them and their businesses unfair and sustainable competitive advantage.

Setty also serves on the boards of multiple privately-held companies in U.S. and India. Setty’s latest book Beyond Code (Foreword by Tom Peters) was published simultaneously in U.S. and India. Setty speaks and writes frequently on topics that include entrepreneurship, leadership and open source.