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Making an ask isn’t easy. Most asks go unanswered. Then again, most asks are unartful.

And no, it’s not to say that an artful ask is guaranteed to get you what you want.

But it will give you a much better shot.

I think about “the ask” a lot. My job requires it, whether it’s trying to bring a sponsor on board to enlisting the support of an expert that can be helpful to a client.

But the truth is, most jobs do. We all need others to help us achieve what we set out to do. Knowing how to make “the ask” is often the difference between success and failure in today’s world.

My ask has evolved and I’m sure still has a long way to go. I have had some wonderful teachers along the way, some because they did it so well and others because they did it so badly. I’m sure others have learned from me too, both what and what not to do.

I get a lot of asks. Sometimes more than a dozen in any given week, people who are hoping we can donate services to help them elevate their cause or business. And almost to a person, these people are doing something important. They are truly working to make the world better in some real and demonstrative way.

But many of them have no idea how to make the ask. Some have tried to bully me into helping, others tried shame. And some bark orders promising employment that probably will never come, without any acknowledgment that my investment of time, energy and expertise is worth something now.

But I have learned over time to choose my causes, though we still take on more than we should.¬† I know that the loudest voice is the room doesn’t always belong to the smartest person. I have come to try and accept that not taking a cause on does not make me a bad person.

And while I can’t make any claim to having perfected my own ask, I can tell you the one thing that I think all good asks have as one who receives¬† so many the secret ingredient almost no one uses when they are trying to get help from someone:

Humility.

Most people think of their cause only from their perspective.

You’d be surprised how many people don’t even acknowledge the value of or other demands on the time of the person they need. Their cause is so important to them, and they are often so rushed, they forget their manners and even basic civilities.

That is a big mistake.

Invest the time in the niceties. Remember to ask and not order. Seek to be helpful to them just as you want them to be helpful to you. Respect their efforts, and remember that every minute they give you is a gift. They owe you nothing.

At first your world will feel slower, filled up by the extra thought required to right important emails or building in time to do something small but nice for someone, like sending them an article of interest or even introducing them to someone who could helpful to their causes.

But in time, you will likely come to believe as I have that it is worth the investment of time and energy. People donate to people, be it money or time. And all relationships are about give and take.

When you want to be on the taking side of things, it’s best to think through what you can also give. At the very least, it should be your respect and gratitude. And those two things alone will go far in a world where they are in short supply.

 

 

 

B2B, sometimes written as b2b and less frequently as BtoB and btob, is simply short for business to business. A b2b company is more interested in selling its goods or services to another business entity. Conversely, a b2c enterprise is more interested in selling its services or products to consumers. b2c stands for “business to consumers.”¬† Please feel free to check out other Online PR, Public Relations, Journalism, Social Media and Marketing terms.

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You’ve probably heard the term but may have wondered – just what is a reporter’s beat? Some journalists specialize in a particular subject or area, the way a doctor or a lawyer does. They take on a specific area of interest or even geography and get to know it very, very well. When they do, they are known as covering a “beat.” Its origins supposedly come from the language of policing, as when a police officer walks a beat – his or her usual area of patrol.

Check out other Online PR, Public Relations, Journalism, Social Media and Marketing terms.

 

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Facebook reserves the right to take down any picture on a user’s site that it deems offensive. And it regularly excercises that right, usually in response to a complaint by a user’s facebook friend.

Of course, what one person considers art another may consider offensive, a point driven home by Facebook’s response to photos of mothers breastfeeding their babies. For years, the social media site has been pulling pictures down from individual users pages who have posted pictures of themselves breastfeeding. In some cases, it has suspended or revoked the users’ accounts.

Facebook has a no nudity policy, but its offical policy on breastfeeding pictures says they can be shown as long as the baby is clearly latched onto the breast.
But Facebook sometimes pulls photos that are compliant with that policy down while leaving others up, and then reverses itself, putting photos back up, and then taking them down again. Its policy is confused and confusing at best.

Facebook says its policy on breastfeeding photos is consistent with those of news organizations, but photos Facebook has taken down run on or in traditional news outlets without complaint.

The always wonderful Ann Douglas wrote about the issue in this recent Toronto Star story. And yes, that is me quoted in the article sounding a smidge more intelligent than I actually am.

In the meantime, all Facebook users should know that they have control over what they see of another person’s posts. If there is someone in your newstream that you consider to be an over-sharer, you can lessen how much you see from them by hovering over their name in any one of their posts until a little chevron looking icon appears in the upper right. Then chose which option you want.

Prior to posting your own stories into the feed, you can also ensure some people don’t see content that isn’t appropriate for them. Only unfriend someone as a last resort. It always gets noticed and leads to bad feelings. Before you report someone, take a minute too to think if it really has crossed a more generally held standard.