• Applicable
  • For Beginners


Asking for help can feel excruciating. Many people view it as a sign of weaknesses and fear negative responses. Social psychologist Heidi Grant has devised a simple but practical list of tips to eliminate the awkwardness and embarrassment of asking for help and to increase the likelihood of getting a yes. Her guidance is especially relevant for the workplace, where professional formalities and dynamics may make asking for help more difficult.


Asking for help can be deeply uncomfortable.

Many people feel awkward requesting help, believing that doing so shines a light on their weaknesses. To reduce your feelings of distress when requesting help, you must improve how you ask. Learn to pose your requests in a way that will generate feelings of satisfaction in those who help you and that will encourage them to want to lend you a hand again in the future. 

Recognize and avoid the “illusion of transparency.”

If you require help, you must voice your need. Psychologists have found that most people hold an illusion of transparency – that is, the fallacy that their thoughts and wishes are apparent to others. But other people don’t intuitively know...

About the Speaker

Social psychologist Heidi Grant, PhD, is an associate director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University. She wrote Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence.

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

3 Ways to Be a More Effective Fundraiser
How to Be a Productivity Ninja
The Psychology of the Con
What a Digital Government Looks Like
The Future of Work Is Going to Be More Human

Related Channels