Why we should be asking more

September 18th, 2018

Written by Katy Winship

Why do people often say, “I hate to ask”? What is it that is taboo about asking too many questions when there are so many people that make a career out of asking questions? Ethicists, criminal profilers, philosophers, the people at Google (and before Google we asked Jeeves)- they all ask thousands of questions every day and make a living from it.

Questions- how many do WE ask every day?

Just thinking through my routine I’ve usually asked or been asked at least 5 questions within the first few minutes of waking up. Questions like:
How are you? Sleep well? What time are you home? What’s for tea? And if you have kids I’m pretty certain you’re likely to hear this a hundred times a day: “Why? Why? Why?”

Asking questions makes us normal and it’s in our nature to be curious human beings. Sometimes we ask questions without really caring about the answer (for example when I ask how you are, and you respond “alright” automatically) but there are just some things that people don’t like to ask. Too personal a question is considered rude especially if the asker is a relatively new person or a stranger. And sometimes we ask questions that we are really invested in the outcome of.

To ask is to ask something of someone; to ask themselves to consider offering something of themselves- whether it is an opinion, a fact they know, a feeling or something that requires an action. The latter two options are taboo- especially asking somebody to do something for you- but WHY?

Let’s normalise asking for help

I’m told that If you don’t ask you don’t get. Think about the repercussions of asking for a promotion, or a loan – you have acted, and any further action must be considered by the second party. Either you receive what you want, or you don’t.

When it comes to asking for help we are often hesitant. But, once you seek help you might be pleasantly surprised to find that people REALLY want to help.

I have recently experienced this personally. A very close friend recently received terrible news that she has terminal cancer at the age of 32. It goes without saying that it’s a difficult time for us all. But something great has happened since. The following day I decided to set up an appeal and within 3 weeks we had raised over £12,000 as part of a Go Fund Me campaign to help her to fulfil her bucket list wishes and pay for her funeral costs.

The campaign made the front page of the local paper and we have been inundated with offers for support and gifts. This is all because we asked for help. People want to help because generally people DO care.

The Art of Asking

Crowd funding pioneer, rock star, TED speaker and author Amanda Palmer wrote a book about her positive experiences of asking for help. She successfully asked her fans to help support her financially to make a new album after she left her record label. She asked for $100,000 and received $1.2million.

She found that if you asked and let people help then you create a bond. She says:
“Asking for help with shame says: You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says: I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says: We have the power to help each other. "

If you want to find more about her philosophy and have a spare 15 minutes, click the TED TALK LINK

Tips for asking for help

• Identify the problem and why you need help.
• Be direct and clear about what you want- don’t mince your words.
• Blanket emails aren’t as effective as personalised emails.
• If you get no response don’t pester anyone and pressure them into helping.
• Don’t underestimate the power of people and their resourcefulness.
• Don’t feel shame in asking- “Those who can ask without shame are viewing themselves in collaboration with—rather than in competition with—the world.”- Amanda Palmer.

We have a target of raising £20,000 in 2018 for our annual charity partner Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. We want to exceed our target and you can help us! Why not sponsor our colleague Chris Gray. He is kindly jumping out of a plane at a charity skydiving event to raise money and awareness for lung cancer sufferers. Find out more Here