Asking for What You Want
Sherri Dickie | Vector Marketing
Coming up in a few weeks, children all across the country will have no problem walking up to front doors, ringing the bell, and excitedly yelling “trick or treat.” They want candy, and they have no qualms asking for it!
In fact, most young kids aren’t afraid of asking for what they want on a daily basis, even if it becomes a little obnoxious or annoying to the parents and adults around them. They ask repeatedly and with great confidence and determination, for one more story before bedtime, for a treat in the checkout line at the grocery store, or for pop at dinnertime instead of milk. They are told, “no” many times, however it doesn’t stop them from asking again, and again and again.
However, at some point during those formative years, many us stop asking. The word “no” never used to faze us, but at some point it seems to begin to hold more meaning, it seems to affect us in a different way. In fact, some of us, get in the habit of not asking for what we want at all, because it seems easier not to ask, than to have to face the fear of hearing that dreaded word, “NO.”
No is an interesting word. It’s small but carries a lot of weight. It has become associated with something scary, something to avoid. For some, hearing it becomes almost paralyzing, and that’s unfortunate, because “no” most often doesn’t mean, “no, never, I can’t believe you asked me that, I hate you!”; however that’s the narrative that we play in our head.
Being involved with DECA, I’ve seen first hand over and over again, the great benefits that students gain from their experience as members. However above all else, one of the most important advantages that DECA students acquire is the ability to negotiate, or to put it simply sales skills.
As a DECA student you are getting first hand experience, asking for what you want. There are countless examples:
- Asking a potential corporate sponsor for their time or monetary investment for your chapter
- Asking a teacher to move a test date because you’re competing in a case competition
- Asking members of the student body to support your fundraising initiatives
- Not even including the experiential learning you get from your actual case competitions.
However, if the art of asking for what you want is still a little challenging for you, know with practice you can improve. It’s like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it will become.
Here are three tips to remember as you build this muscle:
1. Ask confidently and with eye contact.
This means, leave out the wimpy words. If you’re looking at the floor, and sort of mumble, “I was wondering if maybe, if it’s not too much trouble…” you’re not inspiring a lot of confidence, and if anything you’re probably setting the person up for thinking your ask is bigger than it actually is.
2. Be willing to give in order to get.
No one wants to feel taken advantage of, and most times if it is a symbiotic relationship, where both parties benefit, then you’re more likely to get a yes.
For example, “Can I borrow the car again Saturday night?” might be met with a no from your parents if you always return home late, leave it on empty and don’t help out around the house. However, if you were to ask by saying, “Can I borrow the car Saturday night if I bring it back full of gas, and drop off your dry-cleaning on my way,” I’d be willing to bet, your chances of hearing a yes are much higher.
3. Be specific, don’t assume that others know what you want.
Sometimes we get frustrated working with others, because we think they can read our minds. For example, if you’re working on a group project with others, and you just simply ask for more help. That is pretty ambiguous. Instead express exactly what you want, “I’m going to take the lead on research, would you take the lead on putting the powerpoint together?”
We won’t always get a yes, when we ask for what we want; however we’ll never get a yes if we don’t ask.
So, whether you’re asking for a date to the prom, a discount on your first car purchase, or to be accepted into a program that’s full, always at least ask the question.
This article was written by Sherri Dickie, Canadian National Recruiting Manager for Vector Marketing. Vector Marketing is a DECA National Advisory Board Member and a DECA Direct Online Corporate Social Media Correspondent. You can learn more about Vector here, and follow Vector on Twitter @VectorMarketing.