It’s inevitable; we all need help and support from our friends, our colleagues, or even our employers from time to time. So, how can we go about asking for help politely at work or otherwise?
In this article, we’ll show you some great ways to ask for help, both in the workplace and outside of the office.
Below, you’ll find 10 different ways to ask for help in an email:
- Could you please help me?
- Would you mind helping me?
- I could use some assistance
- If it wouldn’t be too much trouble
- Kindly assist me
- I’m hoping you can help me
- If you have time
- I would appreciate some support
- Can I have some help?
- I was wondering whether you might be able to help me
1. Could You Please Help Me?
A standard way to ask for help from a colleague is to simply ask could you please help me?
This phrase is neither particularly formal nor informal. It is a straightforward phrase that’s suitable to use in a busy office setting. Moreover, the inclusion of “please” adds an extra dash of politeness.
In short, you can use this phrase regardless of the nature of your relationship with the receiving coworker. It is formal and polite enough even if you don’t know them very well.
Have a look at how we’ve used this phrase in an email sample:
Could you please help me with this account?
I have run it through the software, but the final amounts still aren’t balancing.
2. Would You Mind Helping Me?
Another way to make a polite request at work is to say would you mind helping me?
This is a tentative way to ask for help from a colleague you don’t know very well. After all, you aren’t expressly asking for help, but asking whether they would mind helping in the first place.
Therefore, you can use this phrase when the task isn’t very urgent.
See the example below:
Would you mind helping me find Mr. Thomson’s file?
I’ve looked in the regular cabinet and have had no luck.
3. I Could Use Some Assistance
You can use the phrase I could use some assistance when you are speaking to an employee or someone below you in the work hierarchy.
As this alternative isn’t phrased as a question, it has an authoritative tone. Therefore, it isn’t an ideal option if you are speaking to a superior.
However, it is very to the point and straightforward, which works well if you are issuing instructions to an employee.
Let’s see an email example that includes this phrase:
I could use some assistance with the Brettman case.
Please come see me after lunch.
4. If It Wouldn’t Be Too Much Trouble
If you want to ask for a favor from a friend or colleague, you can preface it with the phrase if it wouldn’t be too much trouble.
This is a good way to make your request more tentative and friendly. After all, it essentially means that you only need help if it wouldn’t inconvenience the other person.
You can use this phrase if the task is a simple favor and not urgent. It’s suitable to use in a work email to a colleague or in a text message to a friend.
If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, could you give me a copy of yesterday’s spreadsheet?
5. Kindly Assist Me
If you’re unsure how to professionally ask for something, this phrase is a great option.
Kindly assist me is a more formal way to ask for help. Therefore, it’s a good option when you work in a rather formal environment and want to maintain a professional tone in your work correspondence.
This is a safe choice for an email to your boss or another superior. It’s always a good idea to seek help if you need support in your role, and this phrase expresses your needs without being too demanding or informal.
Have a look at the sample email below:
Dear Ms. Khatri,
Would you kindly assist me by forwarding the client’s information to the address below?
6. I’m Hoping You Can Help Me
I’m hoping you can help me comes across as somewhat friendly and casual.
However, you could use this phrase in a business email to a member of another department or an employee at another company. For instance, you could be requesting assistance for the benefit of a client.
Business-casual phrasing like this is fairly standard if you work in the corporate realm.
Moreover, a conversational tone will help you create a good rapport with the other person, which is always positive if you will be working together on a certain task.
To see what we mean, check out the email sample below:
I am a junior accountant at our firm, and I’m hoping you can help me with a mutual client.
Please let me know when you would be free for a quick call.
7. If You Have Time
When you are requesting help from one of your colleagues, you can use the phrase if you have time to let them know that they need not prioritize your task over whatever else they may have on their schedule.
Therefore, you can use this phrase if the help would be useful but isn’t a necessity. You can add if you have time to the start or end of your request as a qualifier.
It is very tonally neutral, so you can use it with a colleague you are friendly with, or one that you don’t know very well.
Please phone Mr. Robertson to find out about the Wednesday meeting, if you have time.
All the best,
8. I Would Appreciate Some Support
You can use the phrase I would appreciate some support when you are reaching out to your employer for assistance.
This phrase is polite and undemanding, which is ideal when you are seeking help from someone higher up in the work hierarchy.
In addition, it’s never wrong to ask for support when you need it, and this should be encouraged in any work environment.
Therefore, let’s see how you can use this phrase in an email example:
Dear Mr. Bryant,
I have had some trouble engaging with the opposing representatives, and I would appreciate some support in this regard.
Thank you for any guidance you can provide.
9. Can I Have Some Help?
If you have a friendly relationship with one of your coworkers, you can ask for help using the simple and straightforward phrase, can I have some help?
This phrase comes across as rather informal. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend this one if you are trying to maintain a professional register in your work emails.
However, it’s perfectly appropriate if you’re seeking help from a colleague you are close to.
In addition, if you tend to keep things casual in your inter-office email exchanges, a more to-the-point phrase like can I have some help may be a better option than some of the more flowery alternatives on our list.
See the email sample below:
Can I have some help with this report?
I just need some information from your notes.
10. I Was Wondering Whether You Might Be Able to Help Me
You can use the phrase I was wondering whether you might be able to help me when you are reaching out to a member of the customer service department at a business or company.
If you are a customer, it can be tricky to figure out where to go for help with a product or service you’ve recently received.
This phrase allows you to tentatively check whether the issue you are facing can be resolved by a member of the company’s customer service team.
Check out the example below:
I am locked out of my account, and I was wondering whether you might be able to help me restore my data.