Originally posted on Forbes.
When was the last time you asked for something?
I mean, boldly and clearly asking for something you wanted.
For most people, the concept of asking for what they want doesn’t even get put onto their mental to-do list.
In my time consulting with business and entrepreneurs, the one common thread I have seen separate the amateurs from the pros is their ability to ask for what they want..So why do so few people actually do it?
One thing’s for sure: you don’t get what you don’t ask for.
The good news is, it’s totally possible to make your asks while maintaining your composure and worth. Here are 5 tips to help you ask for what you want and get everything you want in life.
1. Ask someone who can actually give it to you.
When it comes to networking and asking people for help, I can’t keep track of the times clients have said they “network” but when I find out who they are talking to, it is abundantly clear why they aren’t landing interviews. No matter how great your people skills are, if you are talking to the wrong people, you won’t ever get the right job.
This one sounds obvious, but it’s not.
2. Be clear in what you are asking for.
There is nothing worse than someone saying, “I am not happy and need help,” but when asked what can be done to help them, they have no ideas or direction on their specific needs.
Start to focus on exactly what you are asking for. If it is a new job, be clear on the exact function or type of job you want to do, what city you want it in and what industry would be ideal. People cannot help you if you are not clear. Like my grandma used to always tell me: a confused mind always says no.
When you can give someone a powerful visual of what you are looking for, it will help stick in their memory. The phenomenon of the pictorial superiority effect affirms that people tend to remember visuals over audible words. When talking to someone, create as much of a visual as possible. This means being specific in your ask.
For example, if you are a consultant, and someone asks what kinds of business you are looking to work with, don’t answer, “Oh, I will work with anyone” … This is a blank slate. Instead, get specific, for example: “I really thrive when working with medium-sized businesses that are in the finance industry.”
Suddenly, the person you’re talking to knows where to look, and who to talk to.
3. Be vulnerable.
When it comes to support and trust in a person or a brand, 86% of people say authenticity matters. If you aren’t being authentic with your request, you aren’t going to get what you want.
The truth is, authenticity requires a level of vulnerability and being open about your needs and wants. It is hard to be authentic when you consider how vulnerable it makes you, especially if someone responds to you with a “no.”
Remember, there’s a fine line between addressing an insecurity and shining a spotlight on a weakness. There’s a fine line between what’s personal and what’s private, and I recommend assessing within yourself: what feels personal and vulnerable? Alternatively, what feels private? Stepping into opening your heart and creating connections through personal stories and truth is a powerful career move.
4. Ask again.
When it comes to making asks, realize that you don’t have to live in scarcity. You have every reason to be able to keep asking for what you want because remember: some of the greatest works of art were rejected before the artists were recognized for their magic.
Commit yourself to be persistent in the pursuit of what you want. Realize that creativity is actually the result of persistence. You will begin to find the connection between seemingly unrelated things. Your persistence will begin to show you avenues to get your “yes” that weren’t so easy to see in the beginning. When it comes to success, persistence does play a contributing factor and research shows it even trumps talent.
I am not saying to spam a few contacts over and over with your request, but just because someone said no today, doesn’t mean they would still say no in a month, or a year.
On that note, never underestimate the power of a follow-up email. Take note to follow up with people who didn’t reply, as it’s a key leadership move not to take their silence as a rejection. Perhaps after you follow up, if you don’t hear back, it’s then time to simply ask someone else to support you in achieving what you want.
5. Be gracious when you receive a no.
Rejection once doesn’t mean rejection forever. And if it does, choose to respect the grace.
You don’t want to react with anger or aggression when someone turns down your request or doesn’t hire you. This will only burn more bridges for your future. You never know what led them to say no in the first place; perhaps it was out of their control.
Also realize that how you relate to someone’s “no” is one of the biggest determinants of your long term career success. It’s not personal, and it’s not a rejection. People simply offer up what they’re game to offer, and you can always relate to someone’s “no” or non-response as a permission slip for you to also say no sometimes. You’re human, and that means you cannot do everything… neither can the people you’re asking!
Instead, thank them for their time and choose to view it as a learning lesson and opportunity to become better. Your response to rejection actually affects your health. People who have a “glass-half-full” attitude are less likely to have poor cardiovascular health, blood pressure and risk for viral infections.
I hear it all the time, a company says no, and the candidate replies with dignity and affirms their long term interest and the company ends up circling back around later to offer an opportunity.
Don’t be afraid to step into your voice and speak from your heart to get what you want. Trust me, you will be surprised by how many people are willing to help.
Now get out there and go after what you want!
Ashley Stahl helps job seekers find their purpose, land more job offers and launch their dream businesses. Sign up here for her free jumpstart course on how to land a new job you love.