All too often, people make requests for your time or expertise that just aren’t feasible. It’s why Muse Founder and COO Alex Cavoulacos wrote a helpful article with advice for declining an email introduction you never agreed to.
Once you’ve been on the receiving end—feeling uncomfortable with an ask to connect a distant contact with the most impressive person in your network, or dreading a call for someone to pick your brain when you don’t have the time—you become more sensitive to not wanting to put others in a similar position.
And that’s a good thing, because if you’re extra thoughtful, they’ll notice and be more inclined to help you when they can. (Not only that, but if you always give other people an out, it’s less awkward when you decline a request from them that doesn’t make sense on your end.)
So, here are three templates to ask for a favor—in a way that lets the other person say “no” and still save face: