How Can I Help You Today?

How Can I Help You Today?

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – Wherever you are online, it’s all about networking. While we may have different networking needs and objectives. We all have something to offer which would benefit someone else and we all could use some help from time to time, even if it is as simple as a fresh perspective on our blog design or feedback on items for sale on our site. With the investment of only a few minutes, each of us has the opportunity to offer much appreciated assistance to someone else.

help-phone

Even when it doesn’t seem like it, each time we connect with one another, we’re building a relationship. Depending on the nature of that contact, it may or may not be a positive one, but it is the beginning of a relationship nonetheless. It may never go any further than this, it may turn into a friendship, it may result in something more business-related. The point is, we never really know. If we don’t reach out to someone new and offer our best, we know with certainty where that will lead – nowhere.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I asked a simple question on Twitter a few days ago – How can I help you today? Several requests came in and many offered to help. There was a ripple effect as participants tweeted about their participation drawing others in, forging new connections along the way.

The response was so enthusiastic and genuine, I am planning to do this every Wednesday for as long as people are interested and responding.

The guidelines for participation are simple:

  • Be generous – Share your thoughts, feedback and expertise without an expectation of receiving something in return.
  • Be honest – If you see areas in which someone could improve, please note them and make recommendations wherever possible.
  • Be kind – Respect that you’re giving feedback on work done by people at various skills levels. We are all still learning and doing our best. Tact and kindness will go a long way!
  • Be specific – When asking for help, tell us exactly what you need, rather than “tell me what you think of my blog.” The same goes for offering feedback.
  • Be realistic – If you request something which takes more than a few minutes, it is less likely that you will get the input you seek. Asking someone to read your entire blog and let you know how they’d suggest changing it might require more time than someone is able to offer.
  • Be grateful – When someone offers feedback or ideas, please thank them publicly on Twitter – even if you don’t agree with their input. (Important note: do not @reply to them because very few people will see this. Rather, something like “Thanks to @someone for your help in reviewing my blog.” This way your followers get a chance to meet someone new along with you.)
  • Pay it forward – Offer more than you ask and don’t ask if you aren’t willing to help others.
  • Finally, keep in mind that if your question can be answered through a google search, perhaps you might want to search google rather than asking a question here.

To Participate:

  1. Tweet your request including the tag #canihelp anytime prior to Tuesday 9:00 pm PST (California time)
  2. All requests for feedback, suggestions and input will be posted here by Wednesday morning PST
  3. Be sure to view the requests and offer assistance to as many as you’re able through the comments
  4. Spread the word, including the #canihelp tag, especially on Wednesday!

I’m excited to see what might happen when we step outside ourselves to help a stranger. What do you think? Are you game?

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markhillary

22 Comments

  1. Sharon Hart December 7, 2008 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Great post. The basic principles of hospitality and civility apply on Twitter and other social networking sites/tools. Kindness and generosity awaken those truths within our selves and our society. Your concrete examples of how to respond to specific situations on Twitter are very helpful, especially as more people are discovering this social networking tool. Your example of generosity of spirit ultimately will serve not only the Twitter community but larger society well. Thank you!

  2. Dr. Rus Jeffrey December 7, 2008 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Hey Irene!

    Glad to see you’re moving forward with this. It’s a great idea, and I found it very helpful. I’m looking forward to “paying it forward” in the weeks ahead!

    Dr. Rus

  3. Ari Herzog December 8, 2008 at 12:35 am - Reply

    You can help me one way: Continue being yourself. Authenticity is key.

    And a suggestion that the tag be #canuhelp. Think about your reader, not you. 🙂

  4. Beth McDuffie December 8, 2008 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Wow… this is great! There is so much that each one of us can offer others. You rock Irene!

  5. Ric Raftis December 8, 2008 at 1:05 am - Reply

    Fantastic concept Irene. I’ll Tweet it now and look forward to being able to contribute in some way.

    Cheers,

    Ric

  6. Dale Collie December 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Glad to see you know Dr. Rus … He is really savvy and has a great radio program…

    Dale Collie

  7. Jim Connolly December 8, 2008 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    This post is typical of Irene’s commitment to helping people.

    Irene – when it comes to networking and contribution, you REALLY ‘get it.’

    Kudos!

  8. ALRADY December 9, 2008 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    This is awesome.. I plan on contributing next week If i can remember. Thanks to whoever tweeted this to me.
    ALRADY

  9. Larissa Reynolds December 11, 2008 at 1:30 am - Reply

    What a great day for How Can I Help? Wednesday! Thanks so much Irene for organizing this. Even though my request was to participate in a pretty obscure survey topic, I had nearly 30 survey responses just today. Fantastic!

    Let me know what I can do to help YOU. I’ll keep spreading the word!

  10. Jesse Luna December 14, 2008 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    What a great idea Irene! I love helping others and am happy to receive help when I have a question as well. I’ll do my part to keep this going as well!

  11. Alan Kassirer December 15, 2008 at 2:01 am - Reply

    Thanks for the great idea Irene. I’ll be glad to help others in any way I can. I’m an internet novice but if anyone needs help writing content for their site or blog, I’ll be there.

  12. Lara Galloway December 17, 2008 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Irene,

    Just came across this on twitter, and don’t know much about it other than that it fits with my philosophy. So please, sign me up! I’m happy to help and love being in community with like-minded people.

    Please keep up the good work!

    Lara Galloway

  13. Dr. Mollie Marti December 17, 2008 at 12:29 am - Reply

    KUDOS, Irene!!

    Fantastic to see you and so many social media members truly “get” relationships, giving B4 receiving, the rewards of giving, the need for support, and the power of synergy.

    Looking forward to giving … and getting a little help from my friends 🙂

    Mollie Marti

  14. Danielle December 17, 2008 at 12:36 am - Reply

    I think the opportunity to pay it forward is huge on Twitter. I posed a similar question asking how I could support someone…I love this mindset, please let me know what I can do to contribute:-)

    Think of what this community can do!

    All the best,
    Danielle

  15. […] order yet… there’s more to the Ginsu set… ?Irene has started a great ‘Can I Help‘ service on twitter (in conjunction with her blog) this year that everyone in the […]

  16. Caitlin December 29, 2008 at 1:05 am - Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Rus.
    I applaud you for the work that you are doing and greatly appreciate the spirit in which you are approaching your work.

  17. Hum kant Neupane January 26, 2009 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    very fantastik idea …………… go ahead

  18. Christine Rabel January 29, 2009 at 9:15 am - Reply

    This is fantastic! I am always looking for ways to help people, and this makes it SO easy! I love that you picked Wednesday – I always need a lift by Wednesday ; )

  19. Jayson February 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    We are on the same page Irene. I find that there are days when I have plenty of time to give freely and love doing so. I would love to see this concept grow into a continuing effort to help others unconditionally, thanks for putting it out there and please let me know if I can assist you with this project. Love it, thanks for being you!

  20. The Online Watering Hole | February 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    […] Asking for help is fair game, as long as you promise to return the favor. Don’t believe me??@IreneKoehler?reserves her Wednesdays for a weekly #howcanIhelp day, where she connects people who have […]

  21. Marcos Assis April 8, 2009 at 6:09 am - Reply

    Congratulations Irene, what a excellent idea !

    I also love helping others and am happy to receive help when I have a question as well. Go ahead with this.

    Cheers,

    Marcos
    From Brazil.

  22. […] #canihelp Wednesdays was started by Irene Koehler?as a way to leverage Twitter’s ability to help people by using the vast knowledgebase of other Twitter users.? Just tweet your question (including the #canihelp tag) before Wednesday and wait for the replies to roll in.? Or, if you are a helpful type, visit the #canihelp page to see what this week’s requests are that you might be able to answer.? […]

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