So…… it sounds like my last blog post hit a bit of a nerve in a lot of people and how difficult it can be to ask for what you want. Thank you for the kind words and the awesome feedback on the blog – this is what keeps me going and gives me a feel for what people want to hear! Last fortnights blog was specifically related to how to state your salary expectations with confidence and my experience of women not being great at this. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.
What this article seemed to open up though was a range of different areas in peoples lives where they do not feel confident or comfortable to ask for what they want. Examples that have come through to me have been around things like flexibility in working days, or hours, the confidence to ask for more responsibility, and even the confidence to ask for some (by the sounds of it, well deserved) annual leave!
Although the 5 steps that I gave in my last blog can be relevant in a lot of ways to anything that you want to ask for, here are a couple of suggestions for things that you can do to confidently prepare yourself to ask for what you want that might not specifically be about salary.
1) Ask yourself these questions beforehand:
Do you think your request is reasonable?
If it is related to work – is it fair, researched and not emotionally based?
Would you do it for someone else if they asked you?
What is the worst that could happen by you making this request? Literally, the worst-case scenario? (hint: usually it is just that the answer is NO!)
Asking yourself these questions first is really important. Why? Because it allows rational you to come forward and layer another perspective on things. It helps you remove emotion and fear as to whether what you are asking for is truly reasonable. Just because we want something, doesn’t always make it reasonable. Going through this thought process gives you the opportunity to really reflect on that. I would LOVE to work from a Greek island with a cocktail and masseuse on call for a year, but unfortunately if I reflect on it rationally, for my role, it is probably not a reasonable request (Daaaammmnnn!!).
The most important question to ask yourself here also is “What is the worst that could happen from asking for what you want?”. We often work ourselves up so much to ask for something that we then don’t even ask for it because we’ve already convinced ourselves that it will never happen. Remove some of the fear by asking yourself what the worst thing is that could happen.
2) Be clear and practice hearing yourself ask for what you want before you do it
Yes, I did just suggest you practice asking for what you want – possibly in a mirror of some sort, or at the very least out loud. Why did I suggest that? Because that way when the words come out of your mouth for the first time you wont panic at what you’ve just asked and downplay the request, or worse yet take the request back! Be clear in what you are asking for and why (which you will be after doing step 1) and then ensure that you have thought about how you are going to ask.
3) Watch your body language
Be aware of your body language when asking for what you want. Are you hunched over with your face talking to the ground and your request is barely heard? Are your arms crossed? Are you biting your nails or twirling your flippin’ hair? Or, are you standing/sitting up straight with a positive tone, good eye contact (not a stare contest!) asking for what you want? This TED Talk by Amy Cuddy was shared with me a little while ago and it is a great talk all about the power of body language. Check it out here. It is 20 minutes well spent!
4) Don’t fall in a heap if the answer is NO
Here’s the hard truth. You won’t always get what you want. Sometimes the answer will be NO. But, before you let yourself fall in heap and believe that the world is out to get you (oh boy, have I been here!), consider this – a NO is not a personal rejection. Accept it for what it is and move forward. If you aren’t clear on why the response was no, then absolutely seek clarity. Ask if there is anything you could do to find a middle ground, or is there perhaps a timeframe where the request could be revisited. But, once this is discussed, and if the answer is still no, don’t wallow, don’t drown yourself in negativity – be graceful and move on.
5) Know your values and what is most important to you
This is probably the most important step of all. Understanding what is important to you – I cannot beat this drum hard enough. If you know what the most important things to you are and what your values are, then you will know how to deal with a no that could come your way. You will know if that is just a minor set-back, or is it a full-blown case of “its time to reassess”. If you need some help working out what this is for you, check out one of my older posts which might help.
I help women get out of their own ways. I help you deal with the overthinking. The Imposter Syndrome. The self-doubt. All the things currently getting in your way of being a confident, kick a** woman in your workplace and in your life. Need help? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see how I can help you. Our first phone consultation is completely obligation free.
Keen advocate for helping you get the f*ck out of your own way!