Get What You Want

Whether you want a little help around the house or a raise at work, you have to speak up and ask for what you want. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to find your voice and tell the world what you're looking for.

Ronna Lichtenberg, a management consultant and author of "Pitch Like a Girl" notes, "Most women like relationships; we like the feeling of connection. We worry if we speak up, they will pull back. We don't want that."

But there are real consequences if you don't speak up for yourself.

"You can't get what you want," Lichtenberg tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm, "You preserve a relationship, but it's not an honest one because you are selling yourself out. In the long run, it's not fair to them."

So how can you successfully get what you want?

Lichtenberg shares the following tips:

Don't Wait Too Long. "It's called assertiveness because if you wait until you've 'had it up to here,' you are more likely to lose it and get aggressive," Lichtenberg says. "Aggression escalates, and once everyone loses control, chances of an unhappy ending increase. So say what you want when you first notice it and are calm enough to shape a request."

Be Concrete. "You need to ask for something the other person knows how to do. 'Don't be that way' is not very helpful. 'It would make me feel good if you picked Sally up on Thursdays' is something someone could possibly do something about, and will be more likely to do than if you just try dropping hints."

Provide An Alternative. "If you're asking someone to change a behavior, it helps if you give them a substitute that could potentially work for both of you. For example, if you're at a restaurant and are given a bad table, don't bark at the waiter and tell him how awful your table is. Instead, try something like, 'Could I have that table over there? I'd prefer the table by the window.' Griping will usually do you no good, but if you're more direct and ask for an alternative to what you've got, chances are better that a change can be made."

Discuss, Don't Criticize. "Just like with children, you want to talk about the behavior of the person you're asking something of, and not the person themselves. The goal is to get them to change something they are doing, not to accept that they are so disgusting as humans they don't deserve oxygen, which means: Watch your tone."

Timing Is Everything. "Like puppy training, it is usually better to ask someone to address an issue when it comes up, instead of two weeks later. For example, if you bought something that's defective, taking it back right away is more powerful. The exception is if you are dealing with someone close to you, and know you will have multiple chances; your chances of a happy outcome are better if you address them when they're at their best instead of when you know they're likely to be at their worst. For example, you don't want to confront a night owl with a challenging issue before she's had her morning coffee."

So what if someone says no to your request?

"Then you wait and come back," Lichtenberg says, "You still have a 50 percent higher chance that you will get what you want. It's better than if you didn't; then you think about why he said no. Learn something about it, and come back another day."
  • Tatiana Morales

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