Have you ever asked yourself what keeps you from asking for the things you really want? In so many situations we find ourselves kind of getting what we want but not really. It happens in so many areas of our lives… major purchases, customer service requests, career decisions, and/or salary negotiations. It’s frustrating because you know better but sometimes you lose your voice listening to the self-talk in your own head. Maybe you don’t want to seem greedy, hard to work with, difficult, unappreciative of the opportunities you have been given, angry (IE: The Angry Black Woman) or maybe you have been telling yourself that someone will see all your hard work and decide to just give you what you are worth (news flash… nope). No matter what you tell yourself about why you don’t ask, you should start. No one will ever give you more than what you ask for … even if they know they owe you more. But don’t fret, I have a few tips on how to fix this problem.
Get crystal clear on your end goal and why. Before you step into the negotiation or an “ask” situation know what you want. If it’s a big purchase, decide what your end goal is and stick to it. Sometimes it feels like asking for that extra service is a step too far but you will regret it later so do it anyway. If it is too much they will say no but at least you tried. If it’s a salary negotiation, make sure you have done some research on the market rate for your role. Ignoring your previous pay (#levelupSis), decide what your work is worth right now. What value do you bring? Make a list. This list is for you, it will give you the nerve you need to shoot high and walk away with what know you are worth vs the “good enough” people assume you are worth. If you get nervous, you are most likely on the right track…keep going.
Let go of expectations and be mentally prepared for a “no”. The truth is the answer will not always be a “Yes” so decide right now what a “No” will mean. I can answer this for you, nothing! If all they can say is no, you should be asking all the time. If you know what you want and why you want it then and asked for it – you have done your part. The risk is almost always on the other party – maybe you are no longer a customer or now you know for sure the opportunity is not a good one. Neither are negatives to you. You are not wondering “what if” and you have all the information needed to make a choice.
Do not pile on the “explainers” – Make the request and shut up. Have you ever been hit up by a person asking for money and they keep talking in circles and in your head you just want them to get to the catch? Yes? Well, now you see my point. Make your request plainly and stop talking. Allow the silence to linger and if you are asked further questions then explain some but keep it brief. Sometimes when you think you are proving a point, you are just clouding the conversation and giving cues that maybe you are not sure of what you want after all.
Practice some full-bodied listening to the response. After you have stated your request and answered questions etc. really listen to the other person is saying. This seems obvious but often, instead of really hearing the other person we are preparing our next response. This is important. Depending on the ask, maybe the “yes” comes with some strings attached that change the game. If you asked for something in a service situation, make sure they are not adding costs. If it’s a salary negotiation, maybe the “yes” comes with some other caveat, like forfeiting a future raise or more duties. If it’s a no, listen to the reasons why? Can you get what you want later or is this a dead issue? Both matter.
Getting to a place where you can always ask for what you want takes time. This is certainly not the master teaching the student, I still struggle to find the nerve sometimes. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes to just be frank about the things that are important you. Give it a try and let us know how it works out?