Maximise Your Odds Of Getting What You Want

Asking for things can be tough, because you pretty much get one chance at it and if you fail you don’t get what you want. While that doesn’t necessarily spell game over, it does make things a little bit more difficult. Here are a few tips on how to ask for things to improve your chances of getting them.

Photo by GabrielaP93

Co-founder of startup Hackruiter and software engineer Nicholas Bergson-Shilcock has found that starting up a new company involves asking for a lot of favours and has learned how to do it well in the process. In a recent blog post he has plenty of helpful advice, but it all really comes down to this:

“You can maximise your odds of getting what you want by minimising the work the other person has to do to help you.”

This doesn’t go for people interested in starting a business, but for pretty much anybody asking for a favour. People don’t necessarily want to be helpful so much as they want to feel helpful — like they contributed a lot without doing much at all. If you’ve supported multiple causes online, signed a petition, or completed some other minor action but refused to spend your Sunday morning volunteering for the less-fortunate, you’ve experienced this. This is not a criticism of people, bur rather to say that people value their time and many of us don’t have much of it. That said, we want to help others. It feels good. So when you ask someone for a favour, not only do you need to be polite (but not overly polite) and confident (as Nicholas suggests), but you need to minimise the amount of work your would-be helper needs to do in order to help you. This way you’re more likely to get the favour you’re after and everybody walks away happy.

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