How to Ask for What You Want in the Business World

How do we appropriately ask for what we want from others in the business world? Is there a right way and a wrong way? I am approached somewhat frequently by job seekers and business development professionals seeking new clients. These requests for help are from both professionals in my network as well as people I don’t know. Some requests evoke an immediate favorable response from me. Some make me hesitate and carefully consider if I will help and still others make me cringe because of the way I am approached. Why the broad spectrum of reactions?

Before beginning this post, I chatted with a few other professionals about their experiences on this topic and analyzed the last several requests for assistance I have received. What I learned from this exercise is that many people seeking help are often not self-aware and fail to recognize how they come across to others. They often have a genuine need for help, but the way the need is communicated may come across as one-sided, self-serving and at times obnoxious.

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