So Tell Me What You Want



So Tell Me What You Want…

By John H. Sklare, Ed.D, Lifescript Personal Coach

Published November 04, 2013

Even though we’re all different, there’s something we all have in common. Occasionally, we must have difficult conversations with other people about tough topics.

Since these situations are so diverse and involve different levels of apprehension and emotional intensity, there’s no single formula that works for each. However, there are some fundamentals about setting the stage for having these types of discussions that are helpful, regardless of the circumstances.

The conversation might happen at work (such as asking for a raise or promotion) or it may be something that involves your personal life (like talking to your significant other about finances or sexual intimacy). While these conversations can be difficult, the better you are at having them, the happier you’re likely to become.

Here are 6 basic guidelines that set the stage for asking a difficult question:

1. Prepare: First, create a script that clearly and concisely states what you’re asking for. Take your time and make sure that you’re delivering the exact message you want the other party to hear.

2. Rehearse: Next, rehearse your script while looking at yourself in the mirror. As silly or uncomfortable as you may find this, it will help shape the end result significantly. Just as an actor or actress must rehearse their lines, so must you. The more often you run through your script, the more comfortable you’ll be with the message when you’re delivering it for real.

3. Attire: Dress appropriately when you’re ready to ask your question. This is particularly true if you are, as in my example earlier, asking for a raise or promotion. The phrase dress for success makes sense in this situation, because the way you dress also delivers a powerful, unspoken message!

4. Opening statement: The opening statement truly sets the tone, so begin by saying something like, “I have something that I would like to speak to you about that’s difficult for me to bring up.” In the vast majority of cases, people will then typically reply with something like, “Please, go ahead. What is it?” A statement like this puts the other person in a position where they’re now asking YOU to tell them what you want. This creates a subtle but significant difference.

5. Connect: Make eye contact or physical contact if appropriate! If it’s a loved one you’re addressing, a touch on the shoulder or short hug may even be suitable.

6. Give thanks: Look them directly in the eye and, with heartfelt sincerity, thank them for their time and for listening to your request.

One of the surest ways to find peace of mind and happiness is to be proactive about getting those things you want and need. To increase your potential for becoming a member of this happy, select group, you simply must learn how to effectively ask for what you want.

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