There’s no shame in asking for help at work. In fact, in most business emails, people expect you to ask for help in some capacity.
The only thing you need to know is how to be polite when asking.
This article has gathered the best phrases and questions to show you how to professionally ask for something when you need help.
- Could you please help me
- Can you help me with
- Do you mind helping me
- If you’re not too busy, could you help me
- I would really appreciate your help
- I’m in need of your expertise
- If it’s not too much trouble, can you help
- I would appreciate any help you can give me
- Please help me understand
- Could I pester you for some assistance
1. Could You Please Help Me
You can ask “could you please help me” when you need someone to assist you with any task.
It’s a polite request to include in an email or text message showing that you rely on someone’s skills.
We recommend using it when emailing colleagues. It shows that you’d like them to help you figure out how to complete a specific task. It’s very respectful and shows you’re willing to learn from them.
Perhaps this email example will help you understand more about it:
Could you please help me understand more about the project? I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it.
2. Can You Help Me With
“Can you help me with” is a simple yet effective question to use when you want to ask for a favor.
We recommend including it to show that you’re willing to learn from someone and rely on their ability to help you.
Generally, this phrase works best when asking colleagues for help. It shows that you are on a similar level to them and don’t want to take their skills for granted.
If you still need help, refer to this sample email:
Can you help me with this task, please? Mr. Rogers set it up for me, but I still don’t think I understand it.
3. Do You Mind Helping Me
Another great option to use in polite and friendly emails is “do you mind helping me?”
It’s a great question that shows you’re willing to learn from someone. It’s also a good way to show that you’re not ashamed to ask for help.
You’re already in a great position if you can ask your peers for help. It shows you want to get the best out of your work by relying on people who can help you fill in the gaps. After all, most projects are team projects when you know the right people to help.
Here’s a great email example to show you how to use it:
Do you mind helping me understand more about this issue? I can’t wrap my head around how we should resolve it.
4. If You’re Not Too Busy, Could You Help Me
A great respectful way to ask for help is by starting with “if you’re not too busy.”
With this phrase, you can appreciate that someone might have a busy schedule. After that, you can include the simple question “could you help me.”
This phrase works best when asking your boss for help. It shows that you respect them and understand they might be too busy to help you. However, phrasing it in this way also encourages your boss to step in and do what they can.
Perhaps this sample email will also help you with it:
Dear Mr. Matthews,
If you’re not too busy, could you help me complete this database? I trust that you have a better understanding of it than I do.
Thank you so much,
5. I Would Really Appreciate Your Help
You could also say “I would really appreciate your help” if you want something more formal. It shows that you need someone to step in and help you complete a task.
Generally, this works best if you’re asking a colleague to take the time to help you. It suggests that you appreciate they might be busy with their own thing. However, it’s always worth asking to see if they’ll do you a favor.
Here’s a great example to help you understand it better:
I would really appreciate your help completing this on time. Please let me know if you’re able to assist me with it.
Thank you so much,
6. I’m in Need of Your Expertise
Another great alternative is “I’m in need of your expertise.” It shows that you rely on someone’s knowledge and need them to help you out of a tricky situation.
For instance, you know a colleague knows more about technology than you do. Perhaps you’re trying to complete a project, but you’ve encountered an error on the system that you can’t get past.
Well, you might say “I’m in need of your expertise” here. It shows that you value your colleague’s abilities over your own. It’s a really respectful way to ask for help.
You should also refer to this email sample:
I’m in need of your expertise, as it happens. Can you come to my office in a few minutes to help me work out what went wrong here?
7. If It’s Not Too Much Trouble, Can You Help
Starting any question with “if it’s not too much trouble” is respectful and formal.
You can use it before asking for help because it shows that you respect someone’s busy schedule.
Saying “if it’s not too much trouble” shows that you don’t want to force someone to help you. It’s a polite way to ask for help without putting too much pressure on the other party.
We recommend using it when asking your boss for help. Including it in an email shows that you need them, but you don’t want to make things too difficult.
This email example will also help you understand it:
Dear Mr. Murray,
If it’s not too much trouble, can you help me with this project? I am still stuck at the same point as last week.
All the best,
8. I Would Appreciate Any Help You Can Give Me
You may also write “I would appreciate any help you can give me” in a formal email requesting help.
It shows you are looking for someone to help, even if you don’t know if you’ve contacted the appropriate person.
“Any help you can give” suggests that you do not know if the recipient will help you. They may not have the required knowledge, but it’s still worth asking. After all, you won’t know the answers to your questions unless you ask them, right?
This example will help you understand it if you’re still unsure:
I would appreciate any help you can give me relating to this project. I feel like I’m at a dead-end.
9. Please Help Me Understand
Reaching out to your peers is a good way to figure out any problems you might have. An honest and friendly request like “please help me understand” shows that you need help from someone who might have more information than you.
Generally, you would use this when emailing colleagues. It shows that you rely on them and think they have what it takes to help you.
It’s not often something you would use when contacting your boss. After all, “please help me understand” might make you appear foolish or confused by a project. That’s the last thing you want your boss to think about you.
This sample email should also clear things up:
Please help me understand what I’m supposed to do next. I still don’t know whether I can continue without the other parts.
10. Could I Pester You for Some Assistance
It pays to be polite. The politer you are in your emails, the more likely someone will be to help you.
That’s why “could I pester you for some assistance” is such an effective phrase in formal writing.
We recommend using it when asking your boss for help. It shows that you’re willing to learn from them. Including “pester” also shows that you know your boss is busy. However, you can still go to them for help as and when you need them.
Here’s a great example to show you how it works:
Dear Mrs. Smith,
Could I pester you for some assistance regarding the newest project, please? I could certainly do with a fresh pair of eyes.