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You Don’t Get What You Don’t Ask For

It’s a fact of life that you will rarely be handed exactly what you want or need in in your career. There are both men and women who think if they just do a good job and work hard they’ll get that promotion or that pay rise. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. You have to speak up and specifically ask for what you want, need and deserve in the workplace.

It’s up to you to take control of your future and move it in your most ideal direction. If you choose to sit around and wait for people to take notice and reward you, you might be waiting for an extremely long time. When you want something, you have to ask for it, plain and simple. Here’s how to organize your thoughts and make a plan:

What Am I Asking For

Start by putting into words what is making you unsatisfied. Do you feel your salary is too low? Are your hours too short? Do you want to work from home? Do you want to make a change to a different department? Do you prefer working with a specific client?

You have to be clear about what it’s worth to you, why you’re willing to stand up for it and why it should be yours. Come up with the top three reasons your supervisors (or whoever) simply can’t say no.

Be Specific

It is important to have a concrete goal you can clearly express. The process of asking works best when you are as specific, concise and very, very direct as possible. The more vague you are, the more likely your request will be misinterpreted or even ignored.

I recommend writing it down on paper. A couple of sentences is usually all it takes to clearly state your case. It also works best to start with the words, “I am asking for…” so there is no confusion.

Prepare for Objections

If something matters, it may not necessarily be handed over without a little hesitation. With that in mind. You must prepare in advance for potential objections, but don’t do the work for them. Stand firm and map out your rebuttals. Look at it as a challenge to fight for what you want. I strategy I often use, you start out with a focus on “I” – explaining why it’s appropriate for you to be negotiating for XYZ. Then you shift to “We” – sharing how much you care about overall organisational relationships and how the relationships or company will benefit.

Practice Beforehand

Confidence makes all the difference. Put your thoughts on paper and then practice, practice, practice. Stand in front of the mirror and watch yourself. Don’t stop until you’re thoroughly comfortable and the words roll off your tongue.

Yes, it might feel a little goofy at first, but you’ll get over it. The more you can demonstrate that you believe in yourself and that what you’re asking for is rightfully yours, the greater the chance that you’ll get a positive response.

Be Persistent

Remember, when something is really worthwhile, it may take time to achieve. But it all starts with asking. If your request is declined, don’t put your tail between your legs and go home. Instead, use this as a conversation starter. Ask for more information. Fight for your point of view. Find out what needs to happen in order to get a “yes.” Press for specifics and get agreement. Then, follow up.

Even if making and implementing a detailed plan does not lead to your ideal results, your voice and demands will have been heard. If nothing else, a proactive attitude always lets your supervisors know you’re serious about your future.

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