Asking for what you need from someone at work can be challenging — even downright intimidating. But as with all relationships, it’s important to advocate for yourself. Here’s how to do it.
- Build up goodwill ahead of time. For example, you might try sending this colleague an article you think they would enjoy, inviting them out for a coffee, or expressing appreciation for their work. Then, make your ask. The more positive interactions you have with this person, the more likely they are to be authentically invested in your needs.
- Leave room for dialogue, flexibility, and compromise. Making demands makes the other person feel obligated to say yes, but making requests shows consideration and gives them an out. This might sound like asking someone in your network, “I know that you have a knack for making connections, and I would love to be introduced to someone in your LinkedIn network. Is that something you’d be comfortable doing? And if not, I understand.” Be direct, but also be willing to move on if their answer is no.
- Don’t take rejection personally. Instead, get curious. Ask follow-up questions to better understand the “why” behind the no. This will help you get to yes next time.