This week we focus on ASKING FOR HELP, for example when you:

  • aren’t sure how to do something, but you know someone who has the expertise
  • are working towards a tight deadline and you need help to get it done in time
  • need to increase your budget – you need to ask for money to get something done. 
  • need to borrow something from a colleague or a neighbour…

Seeking help is something we face all the time, but we rarely talk about ASKING FOR HELP.

I’m here to HELP you!

The Podcast:

For this ? podcast on HOW TO ASK FOR HELP, I interviewed Gretchen Barton, a researcher at OZA, Olson Zaltman & Associates(Yes, Zaltman as in Jerry Zaltman, the Harvard Professor who shared wth us his amazing insights on STORYTELLING in podcast #11!)

Gretchen Barton of OZA - asking for help
Gretchen Barton, researcher at OZA

Recently, Gretchen Barton and the OZA team were commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to identify insights regarding how to motivate people to HELP alleviate “Poverty in America.” (Pretty cool, right?)

In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • the “3M” model of how to ask for help: Mindset, Motivations & Metaphors
  • how we’re being helped all the time, but we don’t think about it
  • about the Gates’ Foundation’s stance regarding “grey data”
  • how hostage negotiations relate to asking for help
  • how tweaks to tip jars are making it easier for people to tip their servers
  • the metaphor that Gretchen & her team at OZA discovered resonates in thinking about “Poverty in America” – the Gates Foundation research

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation research with OZA

Gretchen and I scheduled our Zoom interview for when her two adorable kids were supposed to be napping.  But of course, they didn’t nap.  So you might hear them in the background. I was so impressed at how well Gretchen was able to focus.  And at the end of the interview I got to meet one of her kids!

Gretchen Barton & Andrea Wojnicki talk "Asking for help"

Listen to the podcast now:

talk about talk lips Click HERE to listen on the Talk About Talk website


Click HERE To listen on your favourite podcast player


Click HERE to read the printable shownotes

Thank you, Gretchen!

Asking for Help? It’s All About MINDSET

Many of us avoid asking for help because we feel ashamed or because we fear being rejected

Here are 3 research-based facts that can help you overcome these apprehensions and adopt a positive mindset when asking for help:

Reinforcements book - asking for help

1️⃣ Needing help is nothing to be ashamed of. 
The smartest and most capable people ask for help. Research shows that people may think more highly of you when you’re asking for help, especially when the ask is a difficult challenge, when you ask the person personally, and when you’re asking a perceived expert.

2️⃣ You’re not likely to be rejected.
Research shows that we overestimate rejections and underestimate willingness to help  If the person does say NO, research shows that they will be much more willing to help out next time.

3️⃣ People like helping!   
Helping others improves our mood and our well-being.



OK, so you’re in the right mindset for asking for help.  What should you say?

Gretchen Barton quote - asking for help

Here are two things to say to the person you’re asking:

Label the person as an expert or a helper. 

  • My dissertation research shows that people more likely to help others by providing recommendations when they were reminded of their expertise.
  • Other research shows that children are more motivated to help when they’re told “they can be a helper” and that people are more likely to contribute to a charity when asked if they’re asked, “would like to be a generous donor.” 

Communicate gratitude.

  • Saying thanks can boost people’s propensity to help!
  • This is especially true if you focus on what the help says about them, as opposed to how much you’ll benefit.


Use your manners – say THANKS!

Hope That Helps!

If you remember just one thing, make it this: The 3M’s of How to Ask for Help:

1. mindset
2. motivations
3. metaphors

I hope this model will help you next time you’re asking for help.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes story for you.   Over the course of 57 podcasts, I’ve become quite adept at audio editing.  Amongst other things, I know exactly what an “umm” looks like in the audio editing software. 

Well, when I was recording the introduction and conclusion for this episode, I sneezed. ? REALLY LOUD. 

Here’s what a sneeze looks like (at 21:26):


(Yes, of course I deleted the sneeze! ?)

If you enjoyed this email blog and learned something (about how to ask for help or what a sneeze looks like in audio-editing software!),  I hope you’ll HELP by forwarding this email to your friends.  THANK YOU!

Have a great week and stay safe.

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki - headshotDr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

Talk About Talk horizontal logo

Most Recent ?Podcast Episodes:  

#57 – HOW TO ASK FOR HELP with Gretchen Barton
#56 – HOW TO CHOOSE A BRAND NAME with Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
#55 – ARCHETYPES & FEMALE POP STARS with Professor Kristin Lieb
#54 – ARCHETYPES with Dr. Andrea Wojnicki