LMA Communication

In today’s flatter, team-based organizations, you must successfully engage others in order to benefit from their expertise and advice. However, in our aggressive, largely individualistic culture, we recognize that other people may be turf protective and reluctant to share information that appears to give another person an advantage. How, then, do we encourage others to give us what we need to achieve our goals?

Even in a competitive environment, most people will respond positively to this simple statement: “I need your help.”

When we utter those words, we automatically affirm the other person’s value, and we further demonstrate our own vulnerability and need. People who will resist a demanding demeanor will warm up to someone who is willing to admit that he or she doesn’t know everything but is smart enough to know who does.

Three Steps to Support Your Request

Once you establish the fact that you need someone’s help, focusing on these three steps can help seal the deal. You approach your colleague, Jacob, because you need his insights and advice on a project.

Explain the situation. Tell Jacob that you are working on a new form for tracking expenses.

Highlight the greater good. Explain how the new form will simplify the process and save everyone time. Emphasize the benefit to others and to the organization.

Acknowledge his expertise and importance to the solution. Perhaps you have hit a roadblock or you need some information that to which you don’t have access. You know that Jacob has designed multiple forms that his department uses for a variety of activities. He is great at creating user-friendly reporting vehicles. Let him know that he is a critical piece in the puzzle.

Give Before You Need to Receive

In addition to being open to requesting help, make sure that you are willing to help others. Find ways to offer your assistance or to respond positively when coworkers need something from you, so that when you need assistance, you will have a robust network of resources. Together, you can create real and sustainable magic.


Beverly Y. Langford is President of LMA Communication, Inc.® a consulting, training, and coaching firm that works with organizations and individuals on strategic communication, message development, effective interpersonal communication skills, team building, and leadership development.