The best decisions are made with a clear head: no emotional tugs, no buried resentments, no alternative agendas. That's the ideal. Maintaining clarity is much easier to do when evaluating someone else's proposal or working with someone you don't know well.
But it gets messy when we negotiate for ourselves. The emotion behind an issue can get in the way of effectively asking for what we want.
Emotions are good. When I work with women, I make sure to clearly tell them not to "stuff" their emotions.
It is the reactive emotions that can get in the way of making our requests. When I discuss reactive emotions, I'm not talking about passion for your cause. I'm talking about anger, defensiveness, impatience, and sometimes crying. Emotions born out of reactions can impair your credibility.
I use a three step process with my clients to help them productively make their business requests. It's relevant for promotions, raises or recognition of any sort.
- Clear the reactive emotions. I call it "emptying your emotional basket". This allows you to get clear on what triggers the emotion.
- Identify your clear request. It's easy to for our request to get confused with the underlying complaint. For example, if you're angry that your colleague got a higher raise, your complaint is about the colleague's raise. However, your clear request is that you want an increased raise.
- Ask directly. This is about stating the facts, and just the facts. Too often we dance around the request, assuming they'll know what we want if we give enough contextual information.
It is possible to clearly and effectively ask for, and receive what we want if we prepare ourselves methodically and with clarity.
Do you find it hard to make requests for yourself?