Preparing to ask

May 26, 2021
Photo by Monstera from Pexels

Ben Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.” Abe Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Here’s a process to help you examine aspects and impacts of a request, before opening your mouth.

These six steps can help you prepare for big requests like asking for a promotion, sensitive requests like asking a boss to stop micromanaging, or charged requests like asking someone to be more aware of their implicit bias.

Preparation to make a powerful request includes:

  1. Determine what “start behaviors” or “stop behaviors” you want of the other person, to help meet your needs (this requires you understand your actual, underlying need)
  2. Determine what you also want for the relationship
  3. Consider mutual objectives
  4. Consider other strategies and options to get your needs met, in case they say no
  5. Plan your words, using objective observational language
  6. Practice (for large, sensitive, or difficult requests)

Get good at this, and you can even run through all these steps in your mind very quickly, in the moment, when asking for something small.


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