Step 1: Spit it Out
Ask for the help you need, short and to the point. Do so without hesitation, in a strong confident tone of voice. Do so without apology, it is to the benefit of those you serve. Do so without qualifiers. Yes, they are busy too, no need to state the obvious.
Step 2: Stop Talking
Once you make your request, stop talking in both your outside AND your inside voice. Pause, let them respond. Listen to hear. Do not be forming your rebuttal while waiting for them to speak. You will have plenty of time to navigate your next best steps once you hear what they have to say.
Step 3: Stay Focused
If they agree to your request, repeat back and clarify what you understand them to be agreeing to. “Ok”, even a “yes” is not a commitment. Be specific. If necessary, get the agreement in writing, if only in an informal email as a follow up to your conversation.
If they say “No” to your request, take a deep breath. This is no time to tuck your tail and turn OR to rush to anger. Reflect back their response. If they say, “No, I can’t do that…” you can reflect back their exact words in the form of a question or restate it as you understand their response. The goal is to get to the point of collaborating on a solution.
Step 4: Say “Thank you”
Simply stated, regardless of the outcome, express gratitude if only for their time and attention.
It is common to resist asking for what you need. You think everyone else is overwhelmed as well and can’t possibly have time to do “one more thing”. You fear coming across as unwilling or worse, incompetent. Do you flat out resist anything that risks confrontation and conflict? Stop making it more difficult than it needs to be! Put it out there and see what happens. More often than not the worrying and ruminating is more painful than the asking.
If you love this process and want other simple and strategic resources, shoot me an email at [email protected] with the word SIMPLE and I will get them to you.