Learning to ask and The Golden Rule

Asking people for things you want is genuinely embarrassing. Very few people enjoy ringing a client up and asking for money, calling a journo to ask for some coverage, or talking to potential partners about doing business with them.

But in the startup world, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

If you don’t ask for help, it probably won’t show up on your doorstep overnight. If you don’t ask for funds, it’ll take a lot for you to get noticed. If you don’t ask for office space, you’re going to be working out of your dining room. Everyone who has enjoyed success in the startup world has learned how to ask for the things their business wants.

How do you do that without being pushy? It’s simple really – do to others as you would like done to you. If someone came to you asking for help, would you help them? Most likely. Would you know that it isn’t easy for them to ask for help? Probably. So when it’s your turn to ask, remember how you would feel if you were in the other person’s shoes.

In our fast-paced lives, it’s becoming easier and easier to think of people as objects, but if you treat people like human beings, they’ll be much more likely to help you.

People like to be heard because they like to feel important. Listen to what people have to say and they’ll respect you. This can mean asking them questions and then paying attention to their answers.  This can also mean recognising that the other person is unable to meet with you on that day, and being sensitive enough to reschedule.

When you listen to people, you’ll find that you can gauge the likelihood of them helping you before you even ask. When in doubt, ask, “What would make me help me?”

What tips to you have when it comes to asking?

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