Your mom was right when she told you that “please” is a magic word.
I have another magic word for ya – one that no one has probably told you about yet. One that, more often than not, will lower people’s defenses and produce a positive response to your request.
The magic word is:
When you are making a request, ask the person if they would be “open to it.”
As in: “I’d love to speak with you for 7 minutes at your convenience sometime next week – I have 3 questions I’d appreciate getting your guidance on. Would you be open to that?”
Usually what folks ask is: “Do you have time in your schedule…” or “If you have the time…”
Well, no one has any time! It’s super-duper easy for someone to simply say they are too busy and just don’t have any time. Done. Excuse given.
People’s brains are used to waiting for the word “time” to pop up (so they can pounce on it and say that they don’t have any!)
The word “open” is different and unexpected. It makes them stop and think for just a moment. And in that moment, they may just decided they have to say “yes.”
Because… they kinda realize that they will kinda sound like an asshole if they have to actually say, “I’m not open to helping you.”
But what if someone applies this tactic when making a request of you – a request that you really don’t want to do or truly can’t accommodate?
It’s vital (and so very helpful) to know how to use language to steer conversations and conduct business without appearing assholian, seeming flaky, or sounding defensive. That’s what we will discuss in the next few posts…