1. There Should Be No Ambiguity About What You Are Asking For. State your needs and wants clearly in such a way that others will understand them. Don’t rigmarole. Don’t dance about it. Don’t imply it. Just make the request directly and in simple terms. If you want my pen, ask for the pen. Don’t start by telling me stories of how the pen was invented and how that everybody should always have one. But somehow you don’t have one; and then expect me to deduce that you need a pen.
2. Make Your Request Comprehensive. If you want the car and my driver, as well as money for fuel, say so at once. Don’t make piecemeal requests. People would think you are playing smart and manipulating them if they grant you the first request and you now make another request.
3. Be Specific. State exactly what you want, how you want it and when you want it. That way, the other person can easily process your request to determine if your request can be granted or not.
4. Don’t Overload Your Request with Too Many Details. This is particularly important when making written requests. Just give information sufficient for the other person to process your request.
5. Be Ready to Answer the Question, “Why Me”? If the person you are making the request to asks you, “why did you come to me and not to other people who have more capacity to help you?” Be ready to answer that question. Let people know why you are approaching them and not others. Talk about their pedigree, position, statements, competence or attitude that attracted you to them.
6. Don’t Create Window or Excuses for the Other Person to Decline Your Request. Avoid statements such as.” “I am sorry to bother you, but…” or, “I know I am a nuisance, but…”
7. Don’t Adulate Don’t make it look as if the other person is a messiah without whom you will perish. People interpret that as being patronizing. Don’t go, “You know you are the god that I know on earth. In fact, without you I would be dead; please can I have…”
8. Reverse the Role. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Ask yourself, “If I were in this person’s position, how would I like to be approached”.
9. Be Assertive in Your Request. That means that should sell how helping you will add value to a higher cause. For instance, if you want someone to be your guarantor for a business loan, show how getting that loan will improve your business and help you add value to others and the society.
10. There Should Be No Pretences. If you need something urgently, make your request in a way that communicates the urgency. Don’t ask as if you were not in a hurry to get it. On the other hand, don’t paint a picture of urgency when the request can wait for a while.
11. Don’t Become a Nuisance. When you ask, don’t pester. Give others time to process your request. Don’t put people under unnecessary pressure with irritating text messages, constant reminders, phone calls, visits, etc.
12. Don’t Create Confusion. When you have made a request, don’t confuse the other person with another request that will make him/her forget the first request.
13. Believe. When you make requests believe that your request will be grant-ed. Don’t ask with any fear or doubt in your mind. And don’t go around thinking or believing that your requests will not be granted. When people make you promises, believe they would honour their commitments.
Next week, we shall discuss how to handle rejections.