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The Thing You’re Not Asking Your Boss

Date:06-08-2013 06:50:04 read:1
Category:Life Style-->Entertainment

There's a better way to ask for help.

Godfather fans know the line, “He never asks for a second favor when he’s been refused the first.” But if you follow Don Corleone’s lead, you’re missing out, shows new Stanford University research.

In the study, people approached total strangers to ask two small requests—things like filling out a brief questionnaire or mailing a letter. While the strangers agreed to the first request just 33 percent of the time, their willingness to help out jumped to 43 percent when asked a second favor.

Help-seekers wrongly assume that if someone says “no” once, they’re more likely to say “no” again—but the opposite is true, explains study coauthor Daniel Newark. It’s embarrassing and guilt-inducing to refuse a request—even from a total stranger—and so people are more likely to say “yes” the next time around, the study demonstrates. That may be especially true in professional or academic environments; declining to help someone you see every day is even more awkward.

So if you’ve asked a colleague or boss for their time or guidance at work, don’t be afraid to solicit their help again if they refused the first request. If your favor is a big one—say, asking a senior partner to accompany you on a client meeting—it may help to ask for one or two much smaller favors first. This method of “greasing the rails” gets your colleague used to saying “yes,” and studies show he or she will be more likely to agree to subsequent larger help requests, Newark adds.

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    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013