Learn to Ask Outrageously in the Time of COVID


Disruptions create opportunities. Elusive decision makers are more available now since they aren’t traveling and so many people are at home. But only those who are prepared to see and capitalize on openings will emerge on the other side with the prize. That is why at a recent Smart Meetings Virtual Experience event, negotiation speaker Linda Swindling took the time to instruct meeting planners on the secrets of ASKing for what you want…so you can deliver what attendees need.

Diversity enlightenment expert Risha Grant will speak at Smart Meetings Virtual Mid-Atlantic Experience July 30. Register Now.

The “recovering attorney,” mother and author of Ask Outrageously and 20 other books boiled her tips down to an acronym: ASK. Those three letters stand for:

Aware—Be aware of what is happening and where the opportunities lie. That requires understanding what you really want and how it might be different from what other people want. Ask yourself, “What is the outrageous thing that I wouldn’t normally be brave enough to request, but might be available now that everything is different?”

Seek—Always be looking for more information. Do your homework to find out what DEAL style or type of communication approach you and the decision maker prefer. That will help you approach the person effectively. Don’t come with answers. Start with determining the What’s In It For Them, the WIIFT. Ask the decision maker what they are looking for. Before suggesting a solution, research what all the stakeholders really need.

Know—Plan your next step, your next ask. When you live in questions, you get a better deal.

“If you want something, you have to ASK,” Swindling counseled.

How well do you ask? Take the Assessment.

Still Scared? Try This

Think of people in your world who are master-asker models for asking outrageously. Then pretend you are that person.

Better yet, focus on your superpower. What two or three things do you do better than anyone in your office? What do you bring to the table that no one else does? Capitalize on those things. Meeting professionals are often awesome project managers and leaders. Note that in your mental ledger. That knowledge can give you confidence to ask.

Sharing your abilities is not bragging. When you are going virtual and working with vendors, that knowledge of your unique skill set is a gift to your organization and clients. It also gives you job durability and value. It helps you stand out.

Don’t Be Afraid of No

Often, we don’t ask because we are afraid we won’t use the right words, will look stupid or will bug someone. The big reason for many is fear of the word “no.” The truth is, if you are not hearing the word “no,” you haven’t asked for enough. And, if you don’t risk hearing “no,” you will never know the answer, and the person across the table won’t know you are interested. That’s true whether it’s a promotion, a new challenge or a chance to take the business in another direction.

The important thing is what comes after the “no.” The next question should be, “I heard you say no; can you tell me about that?” Then you can respond with a correction to any misconceptions or learn what question there might yield a “yes.”

If you’re told more information is needed, or it’s the wrong time, or there is no money, that is usually not true. The biggest reason is often that you might not be liked, trusted or respected enough…yet.

Ask for Yourself

Most people in the hospitality industry are comfortable asking for others, yet have trouble asking for themselves. But it’s vitally important that you ask for yourself. The team is watching you. So, ask for opportunities to learn, try, do.

Swindling ended with a challenge. Try asking for three things before next Monday. Ask if you can break the rules, do something a little differently, try something new, get that promotion. This is the time. Step up and ASK.