Take my word for it, this is important: How to ask for a favor and not leave a terrible impression.
How to Ask for a Favor and Not Leave a Terrible Impression
Have you ever been asked to do someone a favor, you do it and then feel like you’ve totally been taken advantage of, disrespected or devalued? It certainly doesn’t make you want to do that person a favor next time they ask.
If you know someone who is inclined to do an asinine job of receiving favors that they ask for, tell them this:
Do me a favor, next time you need to ask someone a favor, read this post first.
Here’s how to ask for a favor and not leave a terrible impression:
Don’t say, “I need you to do something for me…”
Try this instead:
- “Could I ask you a favor? Would you do…,please?”
- “Would you mind doing something for me? Would you…, please?”
- “Could I impose on you to…, please?”
Notice: Each of the asks ends with the word, “Please”. Please is not optional when asking for favors if you don’t want to leave a terrible impression.
*Make it easy on the person to do the favor for you.
If they need information, don’t make them do a google search or dig through 10 years of past records. If you have access to what the person who is doing you a favor needs, give it to them. Examples of this:
- If you need a referral or recommendation: Write examples of the work you and the referrer have done together in order to jog their memories. Give them a list of accomplishments.
- If you need a review: Give the person the materials you want reviewed.
- If you need them to stop by the store on the way home: Text them a list. A verbal list is too hard to remember.
- If you need tutoring: Bring your textbook and course materials.
Making it easy to do the favor is not an option if you don’t want to leave a terrible impression.
*Say ‘Thank you’ when the favor is done.
In my experience, it not common to receive thanks when a favor is complete. The favor-asker often moves right on with life. It is also my experience that when I am not thanked for doing a favor:
- I feel taken advantage of
- I am less inclined to do another favor if that person wants something else done
- The favor asker has left a bad impression
*Return the favor.
Remember: the person who did you a favor gave something up to do you that favor. They gave time or money or resources. The favor cost them something. So, it is thoughtful to return the favor.
Returning a favor is simply doing something nice for the person who did you the favor. It’s kind of like a human version of karma: favors are given, favors come back around. This creates goodwill and an atmosphere of giving.
There are lots of ways to return a favor. Here are a few ideas:
- Write a thank you note. (This is above and beyond the verbal ‘thank you’.) Snail-mail it. Don’t email it.
- Give some social media love.
- Send some flowers.
- Ask, “What can I do for you?”
- Occasionally, the situation will not ethically allow the favor-giver to receive a repay. In this case, simply talk well about the favor-giver when you have the opportunity.
People who do not return the favors appear ungrateful and leave a bad impression.
A little bit of thoughtfulness from a favor-asker is all that’s needed to prevent creating bad impressions!