“How May I Help You?”
I never leave a professional interaction without extending this final query. Though this often-unspoken offer is always extended, I’m chagrined to admit that I haven’t habitually formalized this request until years ago when I was asked by my mentor, “How may I help you?”
Wow, what an impact that made on me.
In that moment, I not only received verbal confirmation that I was listened to, but that my success mattered enough to warrant their support. And when I finally started to make this a standard question when closing any of my conversations—networking, phone calls, coffee with a friend, or a business interaction—my life changed for the better.
We all want to help. It’s our nature to be kind to others as we are a society of giving back and paying it forward. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that what we say and do matters and that people believe in us enough to extend an offer to help. The same is true for those to whom you offer help. They will truly appreciate the kindness and remember you for the offer. It ultimately leads to career advancement. Providing that you genuinely follow up on any request, this little act of kindness will also solidify trust, which is key to building any career enhancing relationship!
Time is a precious gift.When you meet with others, through networking or business engagements, they are giving you a gift of their time. When you close the conversation by asking them how you can help them, you are returning the favor. This should be standard practice, especially when you are asking some to take time out of their busy schedule for you.
Now it’s your turn. Are you ready to pay it forward? Think about all those who’ve helped you get where you are today. Have you returned the favor? If not, now is the time to reconnect and repurpose your skill set to elevate their careers, too. And make a habit of doing so moving forward. After your next informational interview, networking meeting or sit down with your mentor, close with, “How may I help you?” The rewards will be innumerable.
How To Be Career Happy? Ask Your Network ‘How may I help you?’