Are You Making Smart Asks?

If you traveled this summer then you probably saw impatient people. Last week my fellow travelers and I watched someone become aggravated and even rude to our flight attendants. He loudly complained his “frequent flyer status” hadn’t provided him with the seat he wanted. The airline employee replied, “Sir, when you saw the seat was open, why didn’t you ask for it?”

People are not mind readers. Assuming others automatically know what you want, like this airline passenger, only creates more frustration.

If you want people to provide what you want – the first step is to ask for it. I talked about this recently in this brief clip from the First Coast Living show.

If you aren’t getting what you want out of your job or your life, you may not be asking for enough.

Asking for what you want doesn’t mean being greedy or taking advantage of others. It means not settling for less. The research conducted for my new book, Ask Outrageously!revealed the following insights to help you gain the confidence to ask for what you really want.

Know why people tell you “No.”

 People think their requests are denied because the:

  1. Person asked lacks all the information needed.

  2. Timing is wrong.

  3. Person they are asking doesn’t want to spend the money.

But the real reasons people tell you “no” are:

  1. You are asking for something inappropriate or they can’t give you.

  2. They don’t like, respect or trust you.

  3. You can’t respond intelligently to questions about the request.

Ask to help someone else.

Two-thirds of people are more comfortable making requests on behalf of someone else – such as asking for their child, a client, a cause, or a person in their care – than asking for themselves. What’s the solution?

Consider how asking for what you want also benefits others. For example:

  • Asking for additional time off from work could enable your family to enjoy a vacation. (Hopefully, your flight won’t include toxic travelers.)

  • Speaking up at an intimidating work meeting may help other employees get information or make an important decision.

Practice asking.

The #1 request people are afraid to make in their personal lives is to cut in line. Hard to believe, right? People would rather ask to borrow money than to cut in line.Here are fast ways to practice asking:

  • Ask to use an expired coupon or to get a discount

  • Ask for a free dessert or a better table at a restaurant

  • Ask a fellow shopper for advice on a purchase or a stranger for information

  • Ask a salesperson for something you can’t find

  • Ask to cut in line!

Bonus: Manners matter.

Practice using your manners when you practice asking. Don’t be a smart aleck. One third of the people say they will deny your request if you are impolite or inconsiderate.

For a more in-depth explanation of how to improve your results just by asking, read my recent article in Training Industry magazine.

About Linda: A recognized authority on negotiations, workplace issues and strategic communication, Linda Swindling, JD, CSP is an author, media expert, a “recovering” employment attorney, and a professional speaker. Contact us to book Linda to speak at your event.