During a talk I was explaining the spirit of generosity, the final mindset in my book, The Connector’s Advantage. The idea of giving because you can, because you want to, giving because it feels good to you and without expectation of anything in return.
My passionate please was interrupted when a woman in the audience loudly grumbled, “I’m tired of giving.” She threw her hands up in the air and continued, “No one ever gives back.” I paused quickly trying to determine why this could be happening to her. Then I questioned, “What have you asked for?” With a look of something between surprise and confusion she thought about it for a moment and then, a bit deflated said, “nothing.”
It is hard to ask for what you want, but you’ll never get it unless you do. I always say, “If you don’t ask, the answer is no. If you do ask, you immediately increase your odds.” We can’t expect others to read our minds and know what we want (and yes, that includes our significant others.) So, let’s talk about how to make ‘the ask’ easy so you can get what you want with the least amount of stress.
First, get clear on your fear. Are you worried you will come off as pushy or annoying? Do you feel guilty that you never did anything for them? Are you worried about jeopardizing the friendship or making them feel uncomfortable?
If any of these sounds familiar, choose a strategy to counter your concern. Below are five pressure-free ‘asks’ that snuff the stress out of these situations for you and the person you are asking the favor of.
The “Opt-Out Ask”
When you make this type of request, you will actually provide the reason why they may say no. You want to make ‘no’ as easy as saying yes. After all, yes feels good and no makes me want to avoid you. By making it easy to say ‘no’ you protect the relationship and leave the door open for a ‘yes’ down the road. For example, “I am interested in learning more about the day-to-day responsibilities of your job and the company you work for. Would you be available for an informational interview? If you are too swamped with work, though, I understand.”Continue reading