Time and again, women tell me they either don’t ask often enough, or when they do, they don’t even get close to the results they want.
That means there are opportunities being wasted. Financial rewards going to someone else. Help not being received. New projects with other people’s names on them instead of yours. Promotions passing you by. Important, courageous, meaningful conversations not happening. Chances denied for your boss, peers, family and friends to give you what you really want.
Leaders ask. They make more requests than everyone else. Leaders ask. And ask. And ask.
There’s an art to asking. It’s an inside and outside job. If you don’t know what stops you from asking or understand your negotiating roots, your requests won’t be convincing.
And if you don’t have the skills to ask in a way that shows you’ve done your homework and you’re ready for what you’re asking for, you’re wasting your time trying to have an influencing conversation in the first place.
All that. And there’s one more thing. It’s important. It’s something that’s become more and more evident the more women I coach.
Inherent to every conversation in which you ask is the requirement to speak about what you’re prepared to give.
Remember, this is a two-way street. It’s not okay to get all righteous about what you should have and not be prepared to give anything back.
You want a pay rise? Then tell me what you’ve already done to deserve it, what you’re going to continue to do, and what else you’ll add to the equation so that I’m confident you’re worth the investment.
You want a new project? Tell me what makes it yours and what you’re prepared to give to it. Passion? Commitment? Dedication? Structure. Sheer effort to meet its requirements and then go above and beyond the call? I like the sound of that.
You want a favour? No problem, I’m happy to help you out because you’ve been so generous to me.
Being open about what you’re going to give can be incredibly enticing. At the beginning of my workshops I always tell the participants what I’m prepared to give them. I’ve had feedback that it makes people feel important, loved, as though I really care (and I do).
Ask for what you want. And make sure you tell the people you’re asking that they can count on you. Then deliver.
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