All of us face situations where, at least for a moment, we don’t know what to do. In those times, before asking someone “Do you want me to… ?”, consider first asking yourself: “Should I…?”
For example, as part of my job I often handle printing assignments for clients, acting as the client’s representative. Let’s suppose I get a price quote from a printer and it seems too high.
I could call the client and say, “The price quote seems high, do you want me to get a second price quote?” Or I could first ask myself “Should I get a second price quote?” In this example, if the original price quote seems too high, I should get a second quote. It’s the proper thing to do for the client.
You are given something to review. A document contains an obvious misspelling:
Before asking someone: “Do you want me to correct that word?”
Ask yourself “Should I correct that word?”
A courier service is late picking up a package.
Before asking someone: “Do you want me to call the courier service and see why they’re late?”
Ask yourself: “Should I call the courier service and see why they’re late?”
There will be times when you honestly don’t know if you “should.” In those cases, you will ask yourself the “Should I” question and you will answer that question “I don’t know if I should.” You can then feel free to ask someone the “Do you want me to” question.
The key is to ask yourself the “Should I” question first.
The above is used by permission from the book Three Years Of Tuesday Mornings: 156 e-mails about business and life by Steve Fales.