Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Asking at work, part of Communication Tips.
- Hello, and welcome. Today we'll focus on how to ask for things at work. Think of something that you would love to ask for in the workplace. Maybe it's a raise or a promotion. Maybe you want the people in the cubicle next door to keep their voices down. Maybe you've got your eye on an amazing conference. Once you have your big ask, let's talk about how to go about the asking. Think of making the ask as if you are running a race. You need to train, you need to stretch, and you need to run, or in our case, ask.
Here is what we can do to train our ask muscles. First, pay attention to how other people ask for things that they need or want. You can learn a lot by watching successful askers. Competitive athletes do a lot of information gathering about the race course and about their competitors. You too will want to gather information before making your big ask. If you are asking for a raise, what is the industry average for your position in your geographic area? Maybe you are asking for a new computer.
Calculate how your old one is costing your company time or data. Another step in this training phase is to practice every day. Ask for someone to hand you something that you can reach. Ask for your partner or your child to do a chore that you normally do. Ask for a special order when you are at the restaurant. It really doesn't matter what you ask, as long as you make at least one ask a day for a couple of weeks. Now, before the race we wanna stretch those muscles out really well.
Think of an ask with low stakes and that is outrageous. Now, caution, this is not the time to go ask your boss for a promotion or a new assignment. It has to be something almost guaranteed to get a noway response. Maybe you ask your airline ticketing agent for a free upgrade, even if you have no bonus miles. Or ask your gas station attendant to discount your gas price for no particular reason. Of course, the attendant is going to tell you "no." That's the point.
The purpose of the stretch ask is to grow comfortable with the thought of rejection. If we fear being told "no" we shy away from important asks in our lives. Let's practice surviving rejection. Now it's time to practice your actual request. Ask a friend or a colleague to role play being your decision maker. Something that helps me is to pretend that I'm asking on behalf of someone else.
It is challenging for me to ask for things for myself, but I can ask for things for other people without any problem. My kids need something? No problem. A friend? I'm asking! So, to help me find the right words and the right tone, I often rehearse as if I'm asking for a loved one. Practice your real request a few times, and then finally it's race day. When it's race time, be direct.
Ask, and then wait for an answer. Don't start offering substitutes before the listener has even had a chance to speak. On the day you decide to make your ask, sooner is better than later. Get in there and ask.
- Understanding introversion and extroversion
- Persuading people
- Negotiating your needs
- Making small talk
- Saying no
- And more…
Skill Level Intermediate
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