It’s one of the biggest fears of employees. It can be awkward for friends and family. It’s a challenge for students and classmates. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the biggest task many of us often dread doing: asking for something.
Unless you’ve had a lot of practice at it, asking people for something you want is a real challenge. Imagine the first time you asked someone:
- out on a date
- for a raise at work
- to do a favor for you
- for advice with a decision you’ve been struggling with
- for help finishing a task
My name is Darryl Hicks, and if you’re anything like me, these topics bring up some nerve-wracking memories. Being the CEO of two Tungsten companies, it’s practically my job to ask people to do things, and ask for help when I can’t accomplish something on my own. Once you’ve done it as much as I have, you start to learn some tricks to it.
There are many reasons why you might feel anxious about asking for something; let’s tackle them one at a time.
- You’re afraid of rejection. The word “No” has a stinging effect to some people. They feel humiliated, and wish they hadn’t tried in the first place.
Solution: Give yourself plenty of time to ensure you have good points. Remind yourself that what you’re asking for is important, and worth trying for. Even if they do say no, it will only become awkward if you let it.
- You’re not convinced in the idea yourself. You must have self-confidence and determination. If you lack these, you’re likely to give up at any sign of resistance.
Solution: Don’t get angry or upset if you don’t get what you want. Instead, convince yourself you might not get what you want immediately. You might have to ask multiple times (without nagging them), or wait for a better opportunity. But put the idea out there, and give them time to consider it. But if you truly believe in the idea and show your conviction to it, they will be more willing to accept you.
- Your thoughts are not organized. How many times have you been rejected in the past, and then later, you thought of something better you could have said? At this point, he opportunity is probably lost, and the new point is wasted.
Solution: Give yourself time to organize your thoughts. Write it down, or make a bulleted list of all your points. Practice in front of a mirror or with friends to make sure you don’t forget anything.
- You’re not ready for rejection. You’re so overconfident, when it does come, you don’t know how to handle it. Even if you do everything right, there are still scenarios when you won’t get an immediate yes.
Solution: Be as professional and polite as possible. Don’t think of a “no” as a definite; consider it an ongoing conversation. Translate every No into a Next. Keep trying until you reach a compromise.
- They have no incentive to say yes. We’ve all met them: people who take, and never give. How willing are you to help these people? My guess is, not a lot.
Solution: Learn the art of saying thank you. Say it, and then follow up with a gift or a written note. Or, do a favor for them in return. Odds are, they will be more willing to help you in the future.
If you have any questions on any of these points, or if you have something to add, feel free to reach out to me at Darryl Hicks Tungsten. I would love to hear from you.