Downsized companies often end up with employees whose list of responsibilities are extensive and overwhelming. If you are an employee who is juggling the duties of two or three people, you may feel extra pressure to perform perfectly and you fear asking for help would make management think that you can’t do your job. Actually the opposite may occur, if you know how to ask. Here are some suggestions on how to best request help in the work place.

1. Be Confident. Work on the problem enough to know what you know and what you don’t know. It saves an immense amount of time when you can give a summary of things you have tried. The person helping you may be able to immediately identify what step you need to change and quickly ease both your burdens.

2. Choose an expert. Try to find someone with some experience in the area you need help with. Let them know you have appreciated this skill in the past and you would like to emulate their technique. Compliments are always appreciated and may open the door to future help.

3. Be Patient. Pick your moment. Watch for a time when the person you need help from is not in the middle of something themselves. Sometimes sending them a quick, concise e-mail explaining your need allows them to pick the time that will work best for them!

4. Be Grateful. Take time to show appropriate gratitude after someone gives of their time and talent. Whether in an e-mail or a thank you card, express in writing your appreciation. If you ask for help and then complain about the help that is offered it’s just plain bad manners; be polite and don’t burn your bridges.

These simple steps will keep your request for help from falling on deaf ears. You will find that people like to be identified as an expert, and may even offer help in the future. Best of all, most management appreciates someone who knows when they need help and ask for it. Doing it wrong isn’t helpful for anyone!