Effective Communication and getting what you want

What is the most effective way to ask someone to do something for you without being manipulative? For example, how can communicate effectively in the following circumstances:

1. Asking a landlord to repair something

2. Asking a friend or family member for help

3. Asking your employee to do things differently

First you need to know exactly what you want and you need to understand your audience and what motivates him or her.

There are four keys in effectively making a request.

1. Timing

Ask yourself when that person is most likely to be receptive to your request, that is, in a good mood, sober, not too stressed out, hungry, or busy.

2. Wording

Turn a complaint into specific positive request. Mention how that person will be helping you out. Most people are willing to help others when they know they’ll have a positive impact and that they will be appreciated. For example, “It would be great if you could help me move this sofa.”

3. Tone of voice

Generally, it’s good to be factual and upbeat, but it depends on the person. Some respond better to friendliness and warmth, while others prefer a factual businesslike tone. What usually doesn’t work is a demanding, controlling or manipulative approach, or a mousy, cowering, or obsequious approach.

4. Follow Through

First, summarize what what the other person has agreed to do. Then send the person a reminder at some appropriate time–a day or week later. It’s a fact of life that people forget things or change their priorities. So if you want someone to do something for you, make sure you call them up or email them and say, “Is there anything I can do to help get X done this week?” Or “I just wanted to remind you about getting X done.”

Finally, it’s important to appreciate and thank someone for what they’ve done after the fact.

by Dr. Alison Pouslen

Read “We never go dancing or do anything fun anymore!”

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