TED, Partner, Chris Anderson discussed on TED Talks Daily

TED Talks Daily


This Ted talk features social psychologist. Heidi grant recorded live at Ted salon rethink twenty nineteen. Hello. It's Chris Anderson here. Those of the Ted interview podcast on the next episode MIT research, scientist, Andrew, McAfee and the scary. But exciting future of our work lives driven by the coming off official intelligence revelation. I kind of believe that in the rest of my lifetime. I am going to live to see peak jobs or peak labor. Subscribe to the Ted interview wherever you listen. So asking for help is basically the worst. Right. I don't I don't have actually never seen it on one of those top ten lists of things people fear, like public, speaking, and death. But I'm pretty sure it actually belongs there, even though in many ways, it's foolish for us to be afraid to admit that we need help. Whether it's from a loved one or a friend or from a co worker, or even from a stranger, somehow, it always feels just a little bit uncomfortable and embarrassing to actually ask for help, which is, of course, why most of us try to avoid asking for help whenever humanly possible. My father was one of those legions of fathers who I swear would rather drive through an alligator infested swamp than actually asked someone for help getting back to the road when I was a kid. We took a family vacation, we drove from our home. South jersey to colonial Williamsburg. And I remember, we got really badly lost, and my mother and I pleaded with him to please just pullover and ask for directions. Back to the highway, and he absolutely refused. And in fact, assured us that we were not lost. He had just always wanted to know what was over here. So if we're going to ask for help, and we have to we all do practically every day, the only way we're going to even begin to get comfortable with it is to get good at it to actually increase the chances that when you ask for help from someone they're actually going to say, yes, and not only that, but they're going to find it actually satisfying, and rewarding to help you because that way, they'll be motivated to continue to help you into the future. So research that I and some of my colleagues have done has shed a lot of light on why it is that sometimes people say yes to our requests for help, and why sometimes they say, no, no. Let me just start by saying right now. If you need help you are going to have to ask for it out loud. Okay, we all to some extent suffer from something that's like holidays. Call the allusion of transparency basically the mistaken belief that our thoughts and our feelings and. Our needs are really obvious to other people. This is not true, but we believe it. And so we mostly stand around waiting for someone to notice our needs and then spontaneously offered to help us with it. This is a really really bad assumption. In fact, not only is it very difficult to tell what your needs are. But even the people close to you often struggle to understand how they can support you. My partner has actually had to adopt the habit of asking me multiple times a day, are you, okay? Do you need anything because I am so so bad at signaling when I need someone's help? Now he is more patient than I deserve, and much more proactive much more about helping than any of us have any right to expect other people to be. So if you need help you're going to have to ask for it. And by the way, even when someone can tell that you need help, how do they know that you want it? Did you ever try to give unsolicited help to someone who had turns out? It did not actually want your help in the first place. They get nasty real quick. Don't they the other day? True story. My teenage daughter was getting dressed for school. And I decided to give her some unsolicited help about that. I haven't think she looks amazing in brighter colors. She tends to prefer sort of darker, more neutral, tones. And so I said very helpfully that I thought media, she could go back upstairs and try to find something a little less somber. So if looks could kill I would not be standing here right now. We really can't blame other people for not just spontaneously offering to help us when we don't actually know that. That's what is wanted. In fact, actually research shows that ninety percent of the help that co-workers give one another in the workplace is in response to explicit requests for health. So you're gonna have to say the words I need your help. There's no getting around it now to be good at it to make sure that people actually do help you. When you ask for it. There are a few other things that are very helpful to keep in mind. First thing when you ask, for help, be very, very specific about the help you want, and why they sort of indirect requests for help actually aren't very helpful to the helper. Right. We don't actually know what it is you want from us and just as important. We don't know. Whether or not, we can be successful in giving you the help. Nobody wants to give bad help lake me. You probably get some of these requests from perfectly pleasant strangers on Lincoln who wanna do things like get together over coffee and connect, or pick your brain. I nor these requests, literally every time and it's nothing. I'm not a nice Verson. It's just that when I don't know what it is. You want from me, like the kind of help. You're hoping that I can provide I'm not interested. Nobody is, I'd have been much more interested, if they had just come out and said, whatever it was they were hoping to get from me, because I'm pretty sure they had something specific in mind. So go ahead and say, I'm hoping to discuss opportunities to work in your company or I'd like to propose a joint research project in an area. I know you're interested in or I'd like your advice on getting into medical school, technically. I can't help you with that last one because I'm not that kind of Dr. But I could point you in the direction of someone who could. Okay, so second. This is really important. Please avoid disclaimers apologies. And bribes really, really important. So do any of these sound familiar? I'm so, so sorry that I have to ask you for this. I, I really hate bothering you with this. If I had any way of doing this without your help. I would sometimes it feels like people are so eager to prove that they're not weak and greedy when they ask you for help, they're completely missing out on how uncomfortable their making you feel. And by the way, how am I supposed to find it satisfying to help you? If you really hated having to ask me for help, and while it's perfectly perfectly acceptable to pay strangers to do things for you. You need to be very, very careful when it comes to incentivizing your friends and coworkers when you have a relationship with someone helping one another is actually a natural part of that relationship. It's how we show one another that we care if you introduce incentives or payments into that, what can happen. Is it starts to feel like it isn't a relationship? It's a transaction and that actually is experienced as distancing, which I Rana cly makes people less likely to help you, so a spontaneous gift after someone gives you some help to show, your appreciation and gratitude, perfectly fine and offer to pay your best friend to help you move into your new apartment is not. Okay. Third rule. And I really mean this one, please do not ask for help over Email or text. Really seriously? Please don't Email in text are impersonal. And I realize sometimes there's no alternative. But mostly what happens is we like to ask for help over Email and text because it feels less awkward for us to do, so, what else feels less awkward over Email in text telling, you know, and it turns out there's research to support this in person requ. Wests for help are thirty times more likely to get a yes, then a request made by Email. So when something is really important, you really need. Someone's help make FaceTime to make the request or use your phone as a phone. To ask for the health that you need ok. Last one. And this is actually a really really important one in probably the one that is most overlooked, when it comes to ask them for help when you ask someone for their help, and they say, yes, follow up with them afterward. There's a common misconception that what's rewarding about helping is the act of helping itself. This is not true. What is rewarding about helping is knowing that your help landed that it had impact that you were affective, if I have no idea how my help affected you. How am I supposed to feel about it? This happened. I was a university professor for many years. I wrote lots and lots of letters of recommendation for people to get jobs or to go into graduate school, and probably about ninety five percent of them. I have no idea what happened. Now. How do I feel about sort of the time and effort, I took to do that, when I really have no idea? If I helped you, if it actually helps you get the thing that you wanted. In fact, this idea of feeling effective is part of why. Certain kinds of donor appeals are so, so persuasive because they allow you to really vividly imagined the effect that your health is going to have so take something like donors. Choose you go online. You can choose the individual teacher by name, who's classroom that you're going to be able to help by by literally buying the specific items, they've requested like microscopes, or laugh, tops or flexible, seating, an appeal like that makes it so easy for me to imagine the good that my money will do that. I actually get an immediate sense of affective nece the minute, I commit to giving. But you know what else they do? They follow up. So donors actually, get letters from the kids in the classroom, they get pictures. They get to know that they made a difference. And this is something we need to all be doing in our everyday lives, especially if we want people to continue to give us help over the long term take time to tell your colleague that the help that they gave you really helped you land that big sale. Or helped you get that interview that you were really hoping to get take time to tell your partner that the support they gave you really made it possible for you to get through a tough time. Take time to tell your cat sitter that you're super happy that for some reason this time they can't didn't break anything while you were away. And so they must have done a really good job. The bottom line is, I know, believe me, I know that it is not easy task for help. We are all a little bit afraid to do it. It makes us feel vulnerable. But the reality of modern work and modern life is that nobody does it alone. Nobody succeeds in a vacuum more than ever. We actually do have to rely on other people on their support and collaboration in order to be successful. So.

Coming up next