After reading the Want more from life? ASK for it! post, Monique wrote me and asked, “Craig, you said to control the factors that influence results, like body language, facial expressions, etc. Will you be more specific?”
An important influence on getting what you ask for is your expectation of the recipient’s response. Dr. Milton Erikson’s Law of Expectations states “85% of what you expect to happen…will” because in certain ways you cause them to happen.
Let’s visualize how expectations affect how we ask. Think about a time when you asked a friend to go somewhere with you. Close your eyes and picture yourself asking, expecting a yes AND no response.
What did you see? When you expected them to say no, you assumed one of two postures:
- aggressive – feeling you had to overpower them into saying yes
- submissive – feeling you didn’t have a strong enough case to seriously consider
Both postures undermine your desire to have your request approved.
If you saw yourself as aggressive, you probably pictured yourself ready for a battle, or ready to defend your request, with your:
- Body tense, leaning in, with shoulders forward
- Hands held tight or fists clenched
- Facial muscles tensed
- Eyes glaring or staring intensely
- Voice strained or forced
- Volume moderate to loud, with strong emphasis on certain words
If you saw yourself as submissive, expecting rejection, you probably pictured your:
- Shoulders slouched or hunched, and head lowered
- Hands fidgeting, with restless arms
- Facial expression sad, hands covering your mouth or hiding behind your hair
- Eyes downward, avoiding eye contact
- Voice faint and hard to hear
- Speech staggered and hesitant, with an indirect, wandering message
When you expected them to say yes, you probably pictured your:
- Posture upright and firm, head held high, chin out, eyes up, comfortable yet strong
- Palms open, body movements natural, not forced
- Pleasant facial expression, relaxed, yet attentive,
- Confident eye contact- look directly at them without being intimidating
- Voice inflections matched the message, with a moderate volume and direct message
There are several ways to expect a positive response.
- Remember a time when you asked for something that was granted, and emulate how you asked in that situation.
- Visualize the person saying yes before you ask.
- Position your body correctly, because it is hard to speak submissively or aggressively when your head is up, your chin is out, your shoulders are back and you are standing or sitting upright.
Choose the approach that works best for you and make sure your request is reasonable and the delivery is direct. Avoid submissive phrases like:
- If it fits your schedule, or it’s not too much trouble
- If I’m not putting you out too much, or it’s not too much to ask
- I don’t mean to trouble you or bother you
- I’m sorry to ask you this
Follow these guidelines, stay persistent and patient with yourself as you design your new asking style, and let me know how it goes.
That’s my perspective, what’s yours? Leave us a comment or question below this post, and thanks for reading!
P.S. Next Week: Is Thanksgiving more about Thanks or Giving?