Getting what you want from others is easier than you think. I believe the single group of people, which do the best job of getting what they want from others, is children. Children are cute, persistent, and frequently down right demanding. And this works for them. However, for adults, there is a different set of rules. Apply the rule of delivering value first and getting what you want is so much easier.
While playing the big sad eyes card worked well with your parents, it does not fly with very many other adults. While there is an exception, I would be accused of being a sexist if I went down that path—so I’m not going there. An adult approach to cute is sincerity—which, by the way, works quite well.
When a child wants something, he or she is singularly focused of obtaining that which they desire. Constant asking, whining, and temper tantrums are standard operating procedure. For the most part these are somewhat tolerated at some level. But, when an adult tries this they are shut down immediately. Children get away with only being focused on their needs but adults must focus on the needs of others.
Children can demand, your boss can demand, and sometimes your spouse can demand—but, that’s about it. Demanding is usually a dead-end street. Rather than going up against a brick wall, adults have to search for the soft underbelly in getting what the want. Adults have to be very aware of the needs of others.
What’s an Adult to Do?
Since adults have to stay focused not on what they want but rather the needs of others, how do you get what you want? My first recommendation is to make relationship bank deposits before you attempt withdrawals. Here is an important caveat; each time you do something for another person, regardless of the magnitude, it’s still only one point in your relationship bank account. A whole bunch of little things generally adds up to more than one big thing.
Ask for It—Nicely
A friend that passed away many years ago would continually remind me of the three great words that will change one’s life: ask for it. However, he left out that the magic is in how you ask—that’s my addition.
- Reframe your request so it appears to serve the other person. Let’s face it; if I think something is going to serve me, I’m more inclined to do it. Most people are that way too.
- Launch your request in the realm of reality. If you ask for the impossible, there is no room for discussion. Have an understanding of the request compliance range (authority) a person might have.
- When you make a request of another, do so from the window of what you absolutely need, what you’d like to have, and what would really float your boat. Giving the person choices makes it easier for them to comply.
- If you want something from another person, first tell them what you can do for them. Hearing what you can do for me always puts me in a more pleasant mindset; resulting in an increased willingness to help you.
- Sincerity in requesting something of another is far superior to the Machiavellian approach. Sure, you can do a snake oil sales pitch, but today most people see right through it—yes, I know—there are exceptions.
In my half-century, plus of attempting to get what I want, I have found the most productive method to be sincerity. Couple a truly sincere approach with the other four above point, and getting what you want from others becomes less cumbersome of a task. Surely it’s better than screaming?
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.
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