Are You An Effective Asker?

Some of us experience difficulty in asking for what we want; be it for a raise or help editing a report at work. The challenge in asking does not stop in the workplace. Our interpersonal relationships with family and friends face similar hardships. We find similar challenges in asking for help at home with doing the laundry or the dishes or help with the children. If you can relate to hesitating and doubt when asking to fill a need, read on to find out about this critical life skill and how you can become a more effective asker.

Why is it so difficult to ask? Some point to the influential role of culture, while others resist asking for fear of rejection or that it makes them feel vulnerable.  But asking to have your needs met or requesting someone else to take an action is an integral communication skill which leads to happier and healthier lives at work and at home.

Asking is harder for women

And, if you are a woman according to Psychologytoday, you will find it even more of a challenge to ask for a raise in pay. Thanks largely to the stereotyping placed on women by society – be it gender or age or education or ethnicity, women shy away from addressing the issue of a salary increase with a supervisor. Many women are haunted by deep-seated internal feelings of inadequacy and inferiority and that they are not deserving of more money.

This may seem simple, but is surprising how many of us expect to have our needs met without having to ask.  Maybe you fear hearing the word ‘no’? The one sure way to receiving a ‘no’ is not asking in the first place.

Ask for what you want effectively

  • The most critical step in asking is to take action – ask.
  • Practising a few techniques can help eliminate the difficulty in asking and may grant you success in receiving a ‘yes’ in response to your ask.
  • The key in clearly articulating your ask is to be specific about what it is you want. If you are unsure and need clarity – take the time to figure it out. This is an important step that contributes to effective asking. Vagueness about your need contributes to awkwardness and embarrassment.
  • Writing down the reason(s) for your ask helps in organising your thoughts and reduces any feelings of embarrassment you may have.
  • Appear more confident by not apologizing for what you want. Catch yourself if you use phrases such as “I’m sorry to ask, but…” and “If not, it’s no big deal”. Other techniques guaranteeing ineffective asking is beating around the bush, or talking around in circles, or wishing someone would read your mind.
  • Ask again and again. Be resilient and persistent. This made easier when you have faith and belief in your need or want.

 The golden rule in asking is that if you do not ask, you will not receive. The more you practice asking, the easier it is and the more adept you become at asking.

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