Friday, March 14, 2014

What happens when you ask

What can happen when you ask for something? I was at a family birthday last weekend and a cousin relayed the story of getting a forward for his book by the Dalai Lama -- because he asked. At lunch today my friend told me about how she's getting to move to London for work -- because she asked.

In social media we are asking for connections, for input, for likes, comments, almost every day. Sometimes it's really easy, it's something funny to share and you hit send without thinking. But I know myself there are times I think about what I'm sharing, wondering how what I post might change people's perception of me, and then I usually just hit send anyway. :)

But there are times when I *want* a response and that's harder, because sometimes you get nothing back. Do you keep asking?

The sales answer would be absolutely yes! It takes something like 12 no's to get to yes. Being the harrassing phone call is not how I want to be known. So do I keep asking?

The requests my cousin and friend made were personal, from people with whom they had had some interaction previously and had credibility with, like their employer. The persons being asked had a personal stake in the outcome. In the case of the Dalai Lama, the book is on a field of study he is personally committed to, and in my friend's case it was a win for the company to get someone experienced and reliable to open up a new market.

I haven't been as lucky in my recent asks. I sent requests to two people through LinkedIn asking for a chat on a topic I have questions about that they have experience with. But I don't know them myself, we just have some loose connections in common. I sent the requests quickly and opportunistically. Should I be surprised I haven't received a response? I haven't identified the win for them and they may not be people open to talking to strangers, as nice as they may be.

I realize that my requests are important to me, but those connections are not. Net is that I can find new people to ask, and I can spend a little more time finding out what's important to them and who we know in common to create a warmer connection.

It takes courage to ask. Let the importance of your request shine through and may you keep asking until you get to Yes.