A Framework for Offering Help

Do you find it difficult sometimes to RECEIVE help? Even when it’s happily offered?

If so, you’re not alone.

For some people, accepting help feels like defeat. Or an admittance of weakness. Pride gets in the way. Or perhaps, there’s a fear of being indebted to someone.

And, when you are a well-intentioned person offering valuable, no-ulterior-motive help, it’s disappointing when it’s not accepted.

We obviously can’t solve everyone’s inner struggle. But we can make small adjustments in HOW YOU OFFER HELP to increase the likelihood of your help being accepted.

These small changes came in handy when I was in a grocery store parking lot and noticed an elderly woman who couldn’t find where she parked her car.

At first, she was resistant to my offer to help her. I offered to help in a simple and straightforward manner: “Can I help you find your car?”

Sure, my offer was to the point. … But it wasn’t very sensitive.

When people need help, they already feel vulnerable. It doesn’t matter if they need help filling out a spreadsheet or if they need rehab. Needing help feels vulnerable and why most people reject help – in hopes of “remaining strong.”

In the grocery store parking lot, I realized my mistake. Her reply was a prideful rejection, “No, I’ll find it soon enough.”

That’s when my influential mindset kicked in. I replied, “Oh I’m sure you will! I just hate it when I can’t remember where I parked my car from one place to another. Especially when I’ve been running errands all day. I’ve wondered around looking for my car in all kinds of places.”

She lightened up with a polite smile and said, “Oh it’s just the worst.”

I chuckled with her,” “It is isn’t it?! … Can I please help you locate yours?”

And just like that, she did a 180 and said, “That’s very kind of you.”

Same offer. Just offered in a different way.

She likely saw my first offer as insulting, but my second offer suddenly became “very kind.”

Hmmm. What’s the difference?

Here’s a simple framework for offering help. It will help you HELP!

1) Commiserate
Share a time when you struggled in a similar way.
It doesn’t have to be a similar situation, per se. Just relate to the emotions they’re feeling.
When have you, too, felt stuck, crazy, infuriated, betrayed, scared, incapable, ashamed, helpless….?

2) “Can I please offer some help? “
There’s a subtle difference between “Can I help?” and “Can I please offer to help?”
Generally speaking, people hate to be rude – especially when they’re in rapport with someone. (Which is what Step 1 helps you accomplish!)

By saying “please,” you’re requesting their help. Think Jerry McGuire: “help me help you.” Your “please” gives them a sense of control.These two psychological principles increase the chances of your offer being accepted as “very kind.”

I hope you find this framework for help…well…HELPFUL! Please feel free to share this with anyone who also wishes their help was accepted a little more often 🙂 Let’s help each other help more often!

Stay connected,

Sharí Alexander
Persuasiveness Coach & Speaker

P.S. Here are a few other ways I can help you increase your influence, whenever you’re ready.

1. Grab a FREE copy of my Mindreader Blueprint. It’s the step by step guide to turning your prospects into enthusiastic clients without slimy techniques, hard selling, or high-pressure pushing.

2. Join me for 1-on-1 Coaching. I love helping my clients clarify their marketing message, improve their sales conversations, increase their client retention rates, and drive their revenues up, ALL by teaching influence language and techniques. Click here for more information.

3. Booking speakers? Your audience will LOVE learning how to be more persuasive in business and in life. Looking for a keynote speaker who jam-packs a speech with practical, how-to content that actually helps professionals be better leaders? Click here for my speaker kit, which includes a breakdown of my popular programs on positive influential communication.

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