Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Are you good at asking for help when you need it?

Many people struggle with this.

It’s also crucial to know how to offer help.

You want to make sure to give the right impression!

Listen in to learn how to offer help to coworkers.

Asking for help

Lindsay asks Aubrey if she is good at asking for help.

Aubrey shares that she struggles with this.

She worries it might be perceived as weakness if she asks for help.

Often she also worries about the perception if she delegates a task to someone else.

Today’s episode is inspired by episode 248: Have You Already Made This Common Business Email Mistake?

In the episode, we touched on the expression ‘take something off one’s plate.’

Today, Lindsay and Aubrey talk about phrases for offering to take on additional tasks to help a colleague at work.

Is your plate full?

The phrase ‘take something off one’s plate’ means a person is willing to do a task for someone to free up their time.

Here are some tips to share that you are willing to help with tasks to lighten a co-worker’s load.

#1: Be proactive

Proactively make it known if you’re available at work.

You have to share with colleagues if you have free time to help.

Here are some phrases to use:

  • “I have some extra time this week. What can I take off your plate?”
  • “What are the next steps for this project? Anything I can do to help?”

#2: Accept a “no”

When you’ve communicated that you’re available to lighten the workload of someone, they may turn you down.

You may be tempted to insist, but it is best to leave the decision to them about their responsibility.

Don’t continue insisting.

Once someone knows you’re available, leave it in their court to take you up on an offer of help without hounding them.

Here is an example:

  • “No problem. Let me know if anything comes up that I could help out with.”

#3: Don’t imply lack of ability

It’s possible to offend someone when you don’t convey the intent to help properly.

You don’t want to imply that they are not capable of finishing their tasks.

It’s best to make it clear you’re offering help due to a person’s lack of time, rather than inability which could cause offense.

Here is an example of a phrase that could upset a coworker:

  • Wrong: I’ve created a lot of slide decks in the past, so I could do that for you if you need help.

A better option:

  • Better: I know you’re slammed, and I have some extra bandwidth, so let me know if I could help with that slide deck.


Here is a quick roleplay from Lindsay and Aubrey using the tips and vocabulary shared in today’s episode.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are coworkers at a marketing firm

Lindsay: I have some extra bandwidth this week. What can I take off your plate?

Aubrey: I appreciate that! I should be ok though.

Lindsay: No problem. Let me know if anything comes up that I could help out with.


Offering help when you have extra time is a great way to be a valued, vital member of a team.

Use today’s tips to be proactive about letting coworkers know if you have extra time.

However, be sure to take a no for an answer and avoid implication of inability.

Remember, the goal is to strengthen the relationship between you and your colleagues.

It may take time to practice and implement the tips from today’s episode, but don’t let it get in the way of lending a helping hand.

Remember to aim for Connection not Perfection!™

What is other helpful vocabulary to become a better team member at your workplace?

Share an example in the comments below.

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