Getting what you want out of life often means asking someone for it. Here are seven steps for honing your asking skills:
Before you ask, be confident. If your request has passion and purpose, you’ll create a positive chain reaction in your posture, your tone of voice, and even your choice of words—not to mention the effect on the person you’re asking.
Ask the right person. Some people are qualified to help you, some are motivated to help you and others may only be able to direct you to the right person. If someone doesn’t have the power—or willingness—to help, spend your energy looking for the person who does.
Get undivided attention. Both you and the person you’re asking deserve respect. If either of you can’t devote full attention to your request in the moment, schedule a time you both can talk when it’s more convenient.
Be specific. Be clear and concise to show respect for the person’s time, and help the person you ask know specifically what you want.
Give … and receive. Zig Ziglar famously said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” If you can make your request a win-win for everyone involved, it is more likely to be received with enthusiasm.
Ask more than once. Every “No” you receive is one step closer to “Yes.” If it means asking the same people more than once, or widening your search to other people who might be able to help you, perseverance often pays.
Don’t lose your cool. When you meet resistance, be gracious and professional. Don’t burn a bridge with a hasty opinion or bad attitude. Ask the person who just declined you if they know of someone else who will be more able to help.