Do you sometimes hesitate before asking others for things? As the saying goes, “He who hesitates is lost.” Don’t hesitate. You can’t control how other people will respond or act, but you can control your actions in a way that can increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
If you want the opportunity to achieve your goals, you need to act with intention. Here are four things you can do to get other people to say “yes:”
1. Think about what the other person wants or needs.
If you ignore what the other party wants or needs, it is unlikely they will say “yes.” Most people are, as Wharton professor and organizational psychologist Adam Grant calls them, “matchmakers” – people who help if you help them. Few are “givers” – people who help without seeking anything in return.
If you want the other person to say “yes” to your request, think about the other person. What do they want or need? For example, if you want a raise and your manager’s priority is another team’s project, let your manager know that you provided support to the team’s leader and how it helped the team. They are more likely to say “yes” if you make it a win-win scenario.
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2. Make the person feel comfortable.
It is one thing to think about what the other person wants. It is another thing to get them to trust you. If you want them to feel comfortable, they need to trust you.
Avoid being aggressive or adversarial. Don’t engage in hardball negotiation tactics. Sit next to the person, not across from them. Ask questions. Make sure they feel you are listening to them and that they are at the heart of the discussion.
3. Be silent.
Still, you can make the person feel briefly uncomfortable. You do not have to immediately respond. Pause. Be silent. Silence breeds discomfort and can make the other person want to fill the void, start talking and yield to what you want.
4. Let the person say "no" first.
Sometimes, you need the other person to say “no” before they will say “yes.” Hostage negotiation expert Chris Voss argues that getting the other person to say “no” is a strategy for making the person feel comfortable.
Voss believes saying “no” provides protection and a feeling of control. When the person feels in control, they open themselves up and are more inclined to listen. So don’t think all hope is lost when the person says “no.” “No” is not the end. “No” is the start. “No” is how you get to “yes.”
To achieve your goals, think strategically about how to get there. If you want buy in, be smart in how you sell your idea.