Sometimes to make a real change in your life, you need to ask those closest to you for help. It seems simple enough, but reaching out to your colleagues, friends and family can be a scary thought for many people. We don’t want to jeopardize our relationships, whether personal or professional, so we often avoid asking altogether. Laura Fredricks, the author of The Ask: How to Ask for Support for your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project or Business Venture, says asking isn’t actually as daunting as it may seem; you just need to be prepared.
When you’re preparing to ask for something, whether it is a raise, more personal time in a relationship, or a donation, Fredricks recommends following these three simple steps. ??First, you should know exactly what you want in quantifiable terms. Next, really think about why what you’re asking for is important to you. Then, brainstorm all the reasons why someone may say “no” to you and be ready with your response. Finally, it’s equally important to be prepared if you receive a positive answer as well. According to Fredricks, if you follow this formula, asking will become much easier. ??Here are some common examples of “hard asks” and how to prepare for them.
How to ask for a raise at work
It’s the new year and you want a raise. Unless you approach your employer though, that promotion may never come. When bringing up the subject, Fredricks says to begin with how you have thought long and hard about this, and it’s important to you. Next, tell them exactly what kind of raise you’re seeking. For instance, “I’m asking for a $5,000 raise starting next quarter, March 1 and here are my three reasons why I deserve it.” It’s likely that your boss or supervisor will reply with something like “I have to think about this,” and according to Fredricks, this is when people get discouraged. Instead of assuming this response means ‘no’, arrange a time to revisit the topic in the next week or so.
?How to ask your significant other for more personal time
Despite how motivated you might be to hit the gym, sometimes a hectic work schedule just doesn’t allow for it. Making that Pilates class can be even more challenging if you’re in a relationship. Whether you need more personal time to go to the gym, to hang out with your friends or to finally learn the guitar, explaining this to a significant other can be tricky. Even if you’re entirely happy in your relationship, your boyfriend or girlfriend might get the wrong idea depending on how you broach the subject. When introducing the topic, Fredricks says to begin with something positive about the relationship, then tell them exactly what you want in quantifiable terms, and finally why it’s important to you. For example: “I love making dinner with you every night, but I really need to go to the gym three nights a week. Is it OK if I go Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays?” This is the ideal structure because it is clear and positive. You could also offer solutions or compromises, such as suggesting that you instead eat dinner together later in the evening after you come home from the gym.
How to ask for a donation
Charity races, school fundraisers and humanitarian trips abroad: these are all wonderful causes, but often require participants to rally for money. It can be awkward asking friends, relatives and coworkers for these funds, but it doesn’t need to be. Once again, the key is to be direct and clear. For example, Fredricks suggests saying something like, “You and I are good friends and I have no idea if this would interest you, but this cause is important to me.” Next, explain what you’re raising money for and tell them approximately how much of a donation you’re seeking. Finish off by asking if this of any interest to them. As Fredricks puts it, “you’re giving them an easy way to get out of and you haven’t harmed the relationship.”
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