Asking for advice, and turning enemies into friends

Asking for advice from those we want to get closer to can be incredibly valuable. The act of seeking help can create a strong bond between people, even turning an enemy into a friend.

This is known as the Franklin Effect, named after Benjamin Franklin who discovered this theory while trying to improve his relationship with a rival senator. Franklin asked to borrow a book his rival was passionate about and returned it with a grateful note. This simple request highlighted their shared interest and put his rival in a position to help him, leading to the two becoming close friends. The Franklin Effect demonstrates that asking for advice on a topic the other person cares about can greatly enhance a relationship.

Don’t forget the context when asking for advice

To ensure you get the most from your requests for advice, it’s important to be mindful of certain key points. Personalize your request by explaining why you have chosen to seek advice from that specific person. This added context will enhance the bonding power of your request.

For example, you could mention that you admire their leadership style, they have achieved something you are striving for, or their insights have helped you in the past. By highlighting the reason why you want their advice, you can begin your request with a compliment and demonstrate that you value their opinion.

To effectively ask for advice, make sure your request is specific

To effectively ask for advice, make sure your request is specific. People are often willing to offer advice, but they may not have the time or patience for vague or confusing questions. Avoid asking for general advice, picking someone’s brain, or inquiring about hypothetical situations. Instead, target a specific problem or question.

Some examples of specific questions you could ask are: “How would you approach dealing with [specific problem you are struggling with]?”, “I’m struggling with [insert struggle], and I think [idea] might be a solution. What do you think?”, “I received [description of difficult message], do you have any advice on how I should respond?”

Express your gratitude and follow-up on actions

Express your gratitude to the person who provided you with advice by thanking them for their valuable insights. Also, let them know how you plan on implementing their advice. It is important to follow-up with actions and let them know how well their advice worked. This gives them a sense of pride in your accomplishment and allows both of you to bond over your success.

If their advice did not work, still follow-up by thanking them for their insights and sharing with them what you learned from the experience or the outcome of your situation, so they know how it turned out.

I'm a digital strategist by heart. SEO Manager working from Stockholm. Here to help teams and businesses to improve, and manage their digital (and people) assets.

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