Skip to content

You Need To Ask For Things And There’s A Right Way To Do It

October 24, 2019

Five people standing in row four not speaking up hand over mouth one person asking questions standing on money blue ribbon trophy crown symbols of successblank vertical space, 16 pixels highIf you want to be successful, you need to ask yourself some questions.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Like: What am I afraid of? What have I got to lose?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You often hear the late Steve Jobs quoted on this point:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way
I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something
to lose.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

He’s right, of course, but alas, most of us prefer to think that death is something that happens to other people.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Besides, Mr. Jobs was a billionaire. 😊blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Why don’t we ask for things?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Anthony Yeung says we fear losing face. Being embarrassed. Getting rejected.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

We’re uncomfortable getting a “no,” so we stay silent to make sure we don’t get one.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Mr. Yeung took the Coffee Challenge. I’d never heard of it. It’s a “failure game” created by entrepreneur Noah Kagan.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

For thirty days, you ask someone for a 10 percent discount: on a coffee, a donut, whatever. You don’t give a reason, you just wait and see what happens.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The idea is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable; to get comfortable with getting a “no.”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

At first Mr. Yeung suffered extreme anxiety. Eventually he got more relaxed. He also got the 10% discount a little over 20% of the time. Once he got 50%. You never know.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

My favorite part of Mr. Yeung’s post was his contention that we don’t ask because we don’t know how to ask.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

We think there has to be a winner and a loser. We think asking has to be adversarial. “I want a raise. I’ve been here awhile, and I deserve it!”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Or else we telegraph defeat as a foregone conclusion: “I was thinking, kinda hoping, maybe you could, uh, give me a raise?… maybe…??”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

A better way: have a plan. Do your homework. Be ready to make your case. Make it easy for people to say yes.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Take asking for a raise (or, if you’re a new grad, negotiating your starting salary):blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Best-selling author Ramit Sethi says that 80% of the work needs to be done before you walk in the room.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Margaret Neale, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and co-author of Getting (More Of) What You Want, says it’s not enough to figure out how much you want.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highYou need to figure out what the company wants, and what your boss wants: what their problems are, what their goals are.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Here’s a key point: view negotiation as collaborative problem-solving. You’re trying to achieve a win-win (which also means you’ll avoid coming off as too greedy or demanding).blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Unless your market research shows you’re being drastically underpaid (and you’ve got the numbers to back you up), take a long-term approach:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Tell your boss you want to exceed expectations. Ask what it will take to do that. Get hard numbers if you can. (Perhaps it will involve taking on more work.)blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Then go out and do the work. Document what you do. Keep track of your accomplishments and how you’ve added value to the company.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

After three months, ask for a meeting. Show your boss how you’ve hit the numbers and exceeded expectations. Say you’re excited to be part of the company and look forward to new challenges– and that you’d like your salary to better reflect that commitment.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You’ve done the work and you can prove it. You want it to be a win-win. You’ve made it hard to say no.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

The key take-aways for me:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

1. You have to be brave and ask for what you want.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

2. “Bravery” is synonymous with tolerating discomfort. (Getting a “no” is not the end of the world.)blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

3. Asking often requires research and a long-term strategy. (You have to do your homework.)blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

4. Asking requires a collaboration mindset. (Think win-win, not win-lose.)blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

5. It’s hard to negotiate successfully unless you have something to offer (which almost always equates to skills,
hard work, and demonstrable results).blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Do you find it hard to ask for things? Do you have a negotiating strategy, or other thoughts or insights?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Please leave a comment. We all do better when we share
ideas.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       * blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, editorial, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Mary Larsen, Editor & Publisher, Fiddler Magazineblank vertical space, 40 pixels high

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 40 pixels high

No comments yet

A penny for your thoughts. I'm on a tight budget here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: