[This is a follow-up article to last week's issue on asking. If you haven't read it yet, you may want to view on our homepage, http://www.ordinarywords.com.]
Does asking really work? Is it "that" simple? Did you try it?
Some people tried it on me! A few subscribers wrote and asked me if I would promote them in this e-zine. For example, Irene Segal, who is a coach and wonderfully loving and giving person, asked me if I could mention her. Well, her story is amazing. Have you ever considered what a difference a personal or professional coach can make, or what exactly a "coach" does? http://www.justcoachit.com
Now, what gets us to ask in the first place? We ask because we have a desire, and we believe that our desire may get fulfilled upon our asking. What stops us from asking? We don't ask because we don't think our request will be answered, leaving our desire unfulfilled. It makes sense. Why would we want to invest in something (making a request) that we don't believe in (getting an affirmative response)?
The fundamental reason we hesitate to ask for something is because we think we won't get what we want. In fact, if we knew that our requests would get accepted, we'd ask for things all the time. We would feel like a child in a candy store, picking and choosing everything to our heart's content. So, how do we raise our level of expectation? How do we get ourselves to believe that we'll get what we want? We've got to get good at asking. Let's learn how to get better results from our requests...
1. Make Your Requests Clear
"Can you help me with my home renovations?" That request can mean many things. Some people might think you're talking about taking measurements and shopping for supplies. Others may think you're talking about doing sawing and drilling. What's worse is that somebody may decline our request, thinking we wanted X, when we really wanted Y. Consider a more specific question, like "Would it be possible to spare three consecutive hours within the next couple of weeks to assist me in repainting my garage?" If you're familiar with S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, affirmative/action-oriented, realistic, time sensitive), then SMARTen your requests, too. (For more information on SMART goals, see the latter part of the article "Summer Resoltuions" at http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Ahmed2.html)
2. Make Your Requests Concise
A long detailed request may never even get read. We've got to respect other people's time, and state our requests in a timely fashion. Initially, Karen (another subscriber) gave me about three paragraphs of text to help promote her. Honestly, I didn't want to spend the time trying to figure out how to shorten or compact Karen's text AND... I wanted to stay committed to supporting people in our community. After a couple of e-mails, I got Karen to submit the following: "Karen builds on the strengths of, and highlights how people are unique when writing a client's resume and/or cover letter. Contact: Karen Shane, B.A., Member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers. Tel: 416-226-0460." Karen stayed committed and was able to see my commitment, too. This illustrates the kind of person Karen is, and the kind of person she would be to work with on your next resume or cover letter.
3. Make Your Requests Compelling
What's in it for them? About a month ago, I had a speaking opportunity in Brantford, Ontario. It is impossible to get to Brantford by public transit (at the specified speaking time), so I needed a ride. I could have called up a friend and said: "Can you drive me to a speaking engagement?" Would that request be compelling for them? Instead, I asked: "Would you like to see my popular Timeless Truths in Time Management presentation for free and get a dinner out of it too?" Perspective changes everything. I put myself into my friend's shoes by considering what he would get by honoring my request.
If we make our requests clear, concise, and compelling, then people are more likely to honor them. The more people that honor our requests, the more requests we'll make in future. It's a cycle -- a great cycle. Get in this habit and increase the ratio of your accepted requests.
Oh, by the way, since there are over 1,700 readers of this newsletter, I cannot honor any more requests for promotion -- The early birds already got the worm! :)
Danish Ahmed is turning heads in the personal-growth movement by bringing the education of the industry down-to-Earth -- by teaching from our popular culture, like television, movies, music, and other current day media. Get a FREE bi-weekly newsletter -- no advertising -- just ordinary words with some extraordinary power! Visit http://www.ordinarywords.com