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Technology

Call, email or text? Researchers say one method is best if you’re looking for help

When life throws curveballs your way and you need a helping hand, never reach out through email. That’s according to a new report from Cornell University. They say the best way to get help is by asking someone in person.

Of course, that’s not always possible. Say you’re dealing with wardrobe malfunctions and your apartment is a few blocks away. Calling up your roommate is much faster than dashing home and hoping no one sees your shame. Tap or click here to make calls with terrible cell reception through Wi-Fi.

In the heat of the moment, you may wonder exactly how you should reach out. You could call, text, send an email or even start a video meeting. If you’re wondering which is the most successful, good news: Experts found out what works — and what will worsen your situation.

Avoid this at all costs

New research published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal can help all of us struggling to get a response. Apparently, previous research found we’re bad at predicting whether people will agree to help us.

We also tend to underestimate the impact of the way we ask for help. We don’t tend to analyze how text-based or in-person requests may impact our ability to get help compared to requests made through video or audio, researchers say.

According to the study, the worst way to ask for help is through email. Since we’re so accustomed to spam, we tend to ignore everything except the most important emails.

On that note, one way to cut back on spam is by taking your email address off of public sites. That’s because scammers trawl all sorts of forums, blogs and social media posts for your contact information. Tap or click here for two more ways to cut down on email spam.

Not far behind is texting. Unless you really know a person, a text is nothing other than an intrusion, so you shouldn’t bother.

Do this instead

Calling for help will yield much more successful results than texting to sending an email. If you can actually get a person to answer their phone, you’ve got a decent chance of getting help.

Video calls are even better, since you’re face-to-face and can show them your situation. Despite all the tech we have, the absolute best way to get a person to help you is by talking face to face. So if you ever need a coworker to help you with a project, it’s better to walk down to their office and have a friendly chat.

So if you want to maximize your chances of getting a “yes,” remember this: Anyone can ignore a text or email — but it’s tough to ignore someone standing in front of you.

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