Tips on Asking for What You Want: Start Small | Learn to Detach | Be Specific | Share Your Reason | Final Thoughts
“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”Nora Roberts
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself on the skill of asking for what you want from your friends, family, partner/spouse, kids, boss, or clients? I did an informal Facebook poll and got responses ranging from 1 to 10 and everywhere in between. Where do you fall on that spectrum?
For most of us, the answer varies depending on the situation. It may be easy to ask your kids for what you want but difficult to ask your spouse. Or you may find it easy as pie to ask your spouse for what you want and need, but not your boss or colleagues.
The skill of asking for what you want is a big key to the keyring to a happy and fulfilling life. Yet so many of us just plainly stink at it. Here are four ways to get better at asking for what you want.
4 Tips To Help You Get Better at Asking for What You Want
1. Start Small
Like any skill, repeated practice makes it easier to look for small ways to ask for something other than what’s being offered. Restaurants are a great place to practice. As the host walks you to your table, you can simply say, “We’d like to sit at a different table. How about that one over there?”
Or in a coffee shop, bakery, hair salon, dry cleaner, or anywhere else you go frequently. Try asking for something unusual they may or may not have. Asking for things not offered is an easy way to practice making your desires a high priority.
2. Learn to Detach Ask and Response (Two Ways!)
Although an ask and a response are completely separate, it’s easy to attach them together. Usually, you don’t ask because you don’t believe you’ll get the answer you want.
Detach the two concepts from each other by remembering they’re completely independent of each other. Also, detach yourself from the outcome of the ask.
You ALWAYS have the right to ASK for anything you want, and the other party has the right to choose their response. The answer might be no, or it might be yes. But according to Nora Roberts’s quote above, the answer is always no unless you ask. Risking hearing NO is the only way to get to YES.
3. Be Specific With Your Ask
If you go to a restaurant and a waiter asks you what you’d like, would you say, “Please bring me a meal,” or would you tell him precisely what food to bring? That sounds funny but failing to be specific in your ask is just like asking for “a meal” at a restaurant. Because the person on the receiving end of the ask has no direction, they have no way to fulfill your request without asking for more information.
Being specific in your ask gives full context and takes away the extra effort of thinking for them. It also allows people to understand what they are saying yes or no to. For example, “Our non-profit raises money to rescue puppies from puppy mills; will you donate ten dollars today to help save some puppies?” is very different from, “Our non-profit benefits puppies, would you like to support us?”
4. Share Your Reason for Asking
You never have to justify wanting something. However, it can become easier to ask for what you want if you share your reason for asking. Let’s say you want to spend more time with your teenage kids. Saying, “You’re always with your friends, and you’re never home! We’d like to see you more often” may be the truth; however, what if you let your kids know the heart behind the asking?
What if you said, “We know you like hanging with your friends, but you’re going to be leaving for college next year, and we’ll miss being able to see you every day. We love you so much, and it would make us so happy to spend more time with you before you go.”
In personal situations, sharing the reason for the ask often helps change the dynamic and the perspective of the person you’re asking. In turn, this can influence the outcome.
What opportunities will you seize this week to make your desires a higher priority by ASKING for what you want?
Health and Arȇte,
PS: Email me “TEAM” for info on group coaching for your team and “MOMENTUM” to be invited to my monthly Momentum Meetup self-mastery Zoom!
Monica Ricci spent 20 years as an organizing and productivity consultant, speaker, and trainer. Today she coaches busy professionals and business teams, replacing unproductive habits with powerful ones so they can create the life and business they desire and deserve. Monica enjoys learning, baseball, travel, and high-quality butter.