Getting What You Want: The Power of Asking

Ask For What You Want

You want something so badly—but you just can’t seem to get it. Instead of waiting for someone to notice you, some times the best thing to do is to just ask. But why is that so difficult?

Whether it is a pay raise or a ride to the airport from a friend, it seems that pride, fear or some form of bashfulness impedes us from asking. This is not abnormal, in fact the inability to ask may be from a sense of admirable humility, but often we fail to realize that people are open to our ask, whether it is for help or asking for the sale.

Below are three quick tips to get to a better ask.

1. Don’t Assume The Negative

We often think that our needs or requests are in direct contradiction to those who can help. “It is too much of an inconvenience” we may think, or we may assume that our ask will offend someone. In short, our egos are at risk—after all, no one likes to be rejected. However, to get to a better ask, don’t bog yourself down with these thoughts. Instead, think of times that someone has asked you for something: help, a favor, a service that you needed. Odds are you probably obliged, and even if you didn’t, you at least provided reasoning for why you did not. It is reasonable to expect that whoever you ask will do the same.

2. Do Your Research

Don’t walk into an ask blindly. In the world of business, this often means doing your research. What specifically are you asking for? Think of what your ideal outcome would be and work backwards. Vagueness, even if granted your ask, may not create your anticipated outcome.  Also, who are you asking? By researching a potential client or employer, you vastly increase you ability to personalize and customize your approach to asking. Who have they worked with in the past and what was the nature of the work? Look for patterns.  Be honest with your approach. If you get a chance to meet prior to the ‘big ask’ make sure that you listen first, talk second.

3. Explain First, Ask Second

Explaining your ask before asking for it can be one of the simplest, most effective ways to get what you want. By explaining first, you build your case for the ask. This also helps to avoid potential conflict or a ‘power struggle.’

A quick, easy example is this: say you are in a drafty room and are getting chilly. There are two constructs you can use to ask for someone to close the door:

“Close the door, its getting cold in here.”


“Its getting a little cold in here, would you mind closing the door?”

See the difference? In the second scenario, you sound far less demanding, but still get the result you wanted!

So, what will you ask for first? Here’s one last tip: start small. By exercising your ‘asking muscle’ you will soon find that you become a pro at getting what you want. Go ahead, get our there and start asking.

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