Asking questions is an underutilized skill that everybody has. It’s even more rare for you to ask for what you want. There is an inherent fear of asking because of rejection, sounding stupid or being embarrassed. So instead of asking, we predetermine the out come and reject ourselves before we even open our mouths (Hobbes). When you ask for what you want or need, you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Jack Canfield offers 5 Tips for Asking:
Ask as if you expect to get it.
Assume you can
Ask Someone who can give it to you.
Be clear and specific.
Being clear and specific is the most important, in my opinion, because when you ask without being specific, people don’t know how to respond and if they do, it will not be to your expectations (because you didn’t clarify them!) . Vague requests produce vague results. Think about a time you asked for something and were no specific, what kind of results did you get? The value of specificity can be seen when asking for a raise. “I want a raise.” So you’re boss adds $1 to your check every week, but that’s not what you wanted. Because you were not specific with the amount of the raise, you got an unsatisfactory result. Next time, ask for an additional $500 a month. The most infamous vague result is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. The problem: they never actually determined what the question was.
Asking repeatedly is persistence, not annoyance. You may have received a no simply because the timing was wrong. The person who could give you the answer you wanted may have had numerous things going on at the time you asked, you may have more credibility the next time you ask, a better relationship (rapport), or better circumstances have made the possibility of a yes a new reality. Remember, you have nothing to lose!
Having nothing to lose when you ask a question is because you’re willing to risk rejection. Think of a time you were afraid to ask somebody a question, what kept you from asking? By taking the risk to ask, you could get a no, in which case you’re no better off than before you asked, but if you get a yes, you’re that much better off.
What keeps you from asking questions? Let me hear from you! Leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter @alexdbarba!