Charged Up! podcast: Master the art of negotiation

Episode 23 with Linda Swindling, author of 'Ask Outrageously'

Charged Up! with Jenny Hoff

 


In this episode, expert negotiator and author Linda Swindling teaches us how to “Ask Outrageously,” the title of her new book on mastering the art of negotiation.

From asking to butt in line at a store to landing a multimillion-dollar deal, Swindling’s research shows that our emotions and insecurities are the same, whether we are in a high-stakes situation or just trying to get a good deal. With practical tips on practicing how to ask and challenges to get you out of your comfort zone, Swindling’s approach to learning how to negotiate can help you transform your career, your business and your salary. 

Let’s get Charged Up! about mastering the art of negotiation and learning how to ask outrageously!


Transcript:

Jenny Hoff: Linda, thank you so much for joining us today.

Linda Swindling: Well, thanks so much for having me.

Hoff: So let’s start with how you transitioned from law to specializing in negotiation. I’m loving your book “Ask Outrageously: The Secret to Getting What You Really Want,” your story about Jay Leno, your missed opportunity in the beginning and then your seized opportunity once you learned the power of asking for what you want. Talk a little bit about how you got into this space and how it’s affected your life.

Swindling: Sure, let me start with how I transitioned out of law, because a lot of people do ask about that. I did practice for 10 years and I practiced in employment and corporate, and insurance, and I learned I could negotiate and that was very helpful. I became a mediator during that time, and a lot of the things they taught us about mediation training where you're trying to get both parties to settle or multiple parties to settle, or things that I had learned in sales. So it was very helpful, and what happened was, I hired a business coach and that was a brand-new concept when I did that years and years ago, and my business coach worked with me. We tripled my practice. I was spending more time with my family which were my two goals, and she finally looked at me and she said, “I don’t get it. Now you're a partner. Now you're really having success with your clients. You're spending this time with your family. Why aren’t you happy?” And what really came out of that conversation was, you can learn a lot of things and be a great environment for a while and then it may be time to journey on to your next one, and I read a quote and I was beating myself up. I spent three years in law school and 10 years practicing, but my quote that really got me there was when she said, “Success is not a destination. It’s a journey.” That just hit me, so I called my company journeyon.com, and she said, “So what do you like out of what you do?” And it was giving speeches and writing, and she said, “You know, people get paid for that.” And, I had never heard that, and I run into a lot of people that say the same thing. I had never heard that you could get paid for doing what I do naturally or do that I love, so that’s a big “How did I negotiate into a different career?”

On the Jay Leno, that’s a totally, this was crazy, so have you ever sat in the studio audience where there’s a show?

Hoff: Yes.

Swindling: Yes, OK. In some of them, they warm up the crowd, which I think if you’ve never sat in, you're surprised at all that they do to get them warmed up. They bring out a comedian and show us how to clap and yell and things, and then at the Tonight Show when it was hosted by Jay Leno, Jay would come out and answer questions from the audience. So, Jay Leno walks out and I’m in the studio audience and he asks if there’s any questions and I have my hand up and he picks me first. The first one he sees, the first one he picks, and I had two questions for him. My first question was kind of a softball question, it was so hopefully he’d like me, and then I was going to ask him for my follow up. My softball question was, “What’s hard about your job? What’s the most difficult part?” And he said, “Oh, I don't know - I get to meet famous people, I get to drive nice cars, and I get paid a lot of money,” and then before I could ask him my second question, he moved over and asked if somebody else had a question, and she asked for what I really wanted, and what I really, really, really wanted was to go down there and get a picture with him. So as she’s running down, “Oh, I’m going to get my picture!” He turns all the way back, looks at me and says, “That’s what you really wanted, wasn’t it?” And I nodded and I kind of like rise up out of my chair and he kind of gestured for me to sit right on back down. He said, “She asked.”

Hoff: Wow.

Swindling: Yes, and it just sat with me and that was so many years ago, and I’m not alone. We did a survey about 1,000 people but it ended up being almost 1,200, and what we asked “Has there ever been a time you didn’t ask for something and then you watched somebody else get it, and you just held yourself back?” And about a third of the people said, “Yes, I didn’t ask for something big, someone else got it.” That was my Jay Leno aha moment. If you want something, don’t do the softball, don’t do the nicey-nice. Ask for what you want upfront and be the first to ask.

Hoff: Absolutely, and by the way, this Jay Leno story takes a good twist at the end. If you go and read the book, “Ask Outrageously,” you'll find out how you were able to vindicate yourself in the Jay Leno scene once you learned the power of truly asking. It’s interesting, right? Because you were a lawyer, so people think, OK, lawyers, negotiation is their trade, right? It’s about asking questions. It’s about making deals and yet as you say in your book, you were always a hardcore negotiator for other people: For your clients because it was your job and you had a duty, and you had this goal in mind but when it comes to ourselves, it’s a different story. So based on your research - which I loved in the book - you have tons of research too, to back up a lot of what you say and the tips that you give. What are the top reasons people are hesitant to ask for what they want?

Swindling: Good question, because about 65 percent of us would rather ask for someone else. You hit that on the head. The reasons that they don’t ask, they think, “Oh, what if I don’t say it right?” That’s a big one for people, or “What if I’m embarrassed? What if I’m bugging someone? What if I’m irritating them?” Or this one: “What if I hear no?”

Hoff: No.

Swindling: No, “Oh, no, I may hear the word no,” and that’s kind of crazy because you need to get used to hearing the word no. In fact, if you're not asking enough, you're not going to hear that word no. You've got to ask until you hear someone say no and practice doing it because you will live through it, and once you know, “I can live through that no,” it really takes a lot of pressure off of you. I’ve even told people when they hear the word no, they say, “I heard you say the word no. I heard you say no to that. Can you walk me through that?” Ask them another question because sometimes people talk themselves out of it.

Hoff: You know it’s funny, I noticed that with my 3-year old son. I am not afraid to tell him no. I think that’s good for him to hear the word no because he is now learning how to rephrase questions and add a sweeter deal into what he wants, and so if he asks for something and I say no, he finds a new little way to ask or a new twist or charms me first, and in a sense, it is that kind of uninhibited way of a child where they can go and they are not afraid to ask for what they want over and over and over again until they get the answer that they want. So how can we as adults feel more confident in asking for what we want?

Swindling: Start asking everybody – you know, the No. 1 thing people are afraid of, they won’t ask to cut in line. Can you believe it? They’d rather ask for money, they’d rather ask for a raise than to cut in line, right? So what do you do? You make asking a habit. Go to the grocery store and start practicing on strangers. Go to garage sales, go to flea markets, get used to the practice of asking in safe places, right? So when I knew that I needed to start doing this better, when I knew I needed to start asking for more and I didn’t want to appear greedy, what I would do was, my kids were young and about 3 to 5, and I don't know if you’ve bought Little Tykes toys ever, but they’re plastic. They’re going to be the dinosaur bones of our generation, right? Archaeologists are going to dig up these plastic toys that didn’t disintegrate. Well, those are expensive, and so I would go to garage sales and I would say, “Hi, I only have $5 on me.” Now, I had $25 or a checkbook back in the little minivan that I was driving, but I had $5 on me and I’d say, “I have $5 on me, can I have this?” And it would be the big play thing or a car, whatever, and I would just ask outrageously because why not? It doesn’t matter. What’s the worst they can say? No. I don’t have to tote it home. I don’t need it, and that got me into the practice of asking, and if you feel real embarrassed going to a garage sale in your neighborhood, go a couple neighborhoods over and go to theirs where you don’t know anyone, but that’s a big secret behind this.

I made it a habit of asking because it’s feels no different asking at a garage sale, a flea market, than it does asking for something big. Asking for a reduction on an interest payment or asking for a deal when buying a house or asking for a multimillion dollar deal. The emotions, the energy, the adrenaline feels no different. So don’t wait for the big opportunity to ask your first time. Start asking now so you can get used to it.

Hoff: So low-risk scenarios. Scenarios where you don’t really care what the answer is going to be but then, that’s when you need to go start asking outrageously for things so that you do get very comfortable embracing this comfort.

Swindling: Yes, and you'll start seeing how people react. You'll start seeing what works better. Look for the managers, look for the leaders. The leaders can say yes, the gatekeepers can’t, right? So I even ask to see a manager when someone does a really great job for me, and I’ll say, “Is your manager around?” And the whole store jumps up, “Oh, no, what’s going on?” It’s a clothing store or whatever, and when the manager comes up, I’ll say, “I just want you to know you've got an incredible employee here. Here, she did this, this, this, this.” Just get used to talking to those people that can say yes to you.

Hoff: I love that. So the gatekeepers can’t give you the answer that you want. The leaders and all those in charge can, and so I want to talk about now when you hear the word no, because obviously, yes, you can ask outrageously, yes, a lot of the times, you may get what you want but we still hear no often enough, and what I really thought was interesting in your book was why people say no based on your research versus why people think they’re hearing no, and there seems to be a big disconnect there. So why do people say no to requests most often?

Swindling: Yes, well, I think it’s the reverse that was so interesting was, like you said, people thought they were told no for three reasons: “I didn’t do enough research, didn’t give enough data, I didn’t give enough information.” We all say that. The second thing is, “Ooh, I just asked a wrong time, wrong sale cycle, wrong time to ask,” or third, “They just didn’t have the budget for it.” Now what you just said is huge.

 

The real reasons are, one, you're asking for something they can’t give you. It’s inappropriate, so the extreme is you go to hardware store and you ask them for a chicken-fried steak. They’re not going to give you a chicken-fried steak [laughing] because they don’t have it to give to you. If you are asking someone to do their job, they will do something for you. If it’s not within their ability to give to you, they’re not going to do it, and for me, it was law. I’d say, “So what do you really want at the end of this, this case, this suit?” Whatever they were doing. “I want him to apologize and really respect me.” Well, you're not going to get that in the court of law. No judge is going to say, “OK, you guys, go shake hands. Hug it out.” They don’t do it, right? I’d never met a judge that’s going to do that.

The other one though, is one that we have so much control over, and that is do they like, trust, or respect you? Are you true to your word? Are you someone that’s trustworthy? Are you someone that they could rely on? And that’s where a third of the people will even turn you down if you're inconsiderate, you don’t have good manners. There’s a lot more about relationships than we think there is with asking. They don’t have to know you but they have to feel like you're a trustworthy person. That’s a big additional reason for why you need to ask upfront. Jenny, have you ever been with somebody and you say, “OK, well enough of the small talk, what do you really want?” If you don’t answer what you want upfront, people are thinking that the entire time you do, so talk to them, ask them for what you want, you can small talk later.

Hoff: It definitely shows honesty, right? It kind of opens that door where it doesn’t feel like you're being passive-aggressive or you're trying to hint at something and somebody doesn’t understand what you're trying to hint at. It’s immediately opening that door of honesty and saying, “This is what I’m interested in and this is what I’ve been looking for. What are you looking for?”

Swindling: Yes, doesn’t that make sense? “What are you looking for? How can I help you? At the end of today, what I’d like to do is have an agreement with you, is that OK?” You could spell it out, especially with the decision makers, they get pulled off-task a lot. Somebody else will call in, they’ll get another email sent to them, an emergency, what happened? If you're with somebody who could make decisions pretty quickly, that’s why you want to be there. I don't know if any of your listeners have done this, but years ago, we used to do this all the time. I still do it personally, but for clients too. I would call a credit card company and ask them to reduce a rate or say, “So and so just sent me an offer for this, a different credit card company, would you match it? I like being with you all. I like having the history with you. Would you match this rate? Or can we move my timing? Because all my bills are coming in on the first, could I move it to the 18th when it’s due and that way I can stagger the payments with my paychecks?” And you would get somebody on the phone that was reading off of a card, and you thought, “I have no hope here.” So often, I’d say, “You know what? Let me call you back later,” and then I would call them back later, two minutes later, and get someone new, and sometimes I’d wait a week and I’d talk to someone else, and it was often that I would say, “Is there any way I could, you know, do you have anything else that’s going on?” Or maybe I would try to customer service instead of the one I was talking to because the right person who will listen to you will help you, and that was something I would find a lot or I’d say, “I would like to pay this one off. I’d like to consolidate. What could you do for me?” And a couple of companies would say, “I can’t do anything for you,” or one would say, “Yes, I would be willing to do this.” What’s interesting is who would say yes. So if you’ve already practiced talking to strangers or talking to people at the grocery store, or talking to people at a store or a restaurant or whatever, you'll be surprised at how much more comfortable you are reading how people are responding to you.

Hoff: Yes, absolutely, and I think that’s really interesting. We need to keep that in mind. If somebody says no to you, the reason may be that they somehow don’t trust you and it may not be that you're untrustworthy, it’s just that you're not conveying that trust. You're either beating around the bush or doing small talk. They understand you want something from them and you're not getting to it, and you're not being very upfront about it, and so I think that you're right, especially in leaders, especially people who have to make decisions, they appreciate efficiency rather than having to guess at what the person’s asking for.

Swindling: Exactly.

Hoff: So let’s get to the subject that I know we’re all waiting to get answers to: Asking for a raise at work. What did you find in your research about asking for a raise?

Swindling: Believe it or not, the odds are in our favor. A little over half of the people got a raise when they asked for it. An 8 percent got more than what they asked for, but that goes back to what you were saying about the decision makers in trusting you. Don’t go in and say, “Hey, I’ve been here two years. I haven’t gotten a raise. I want a raise.” It’s not a longevity payment. It’s not something that you get as an award, no, what it is, is based on those two years, you got a paycheck, and so that was the agreement you had then. So what do you do going forward? Will you say, “Based on those two years, just like I’ve done these things for you, helped the company in these ways, this is what I’m going to do for you in the future, and this is how I’m going to build the business. This is how I’m going to help our customers. This is how I’m going to help other employees,” whatever it is. Now think about what you've done. You've given them bottom line things that will help them or ways to promote the department or whatever. Now your boss can go and talk to whoever his or her boss is, or their committee or their board or whatever, and say, “Look, this person has a track record with us and is going to do these things to help us move the company forward and the association forward. I want to give him a raise.” Now you're not putting your boss or supervisor in something that’s not appropriate. You've given them appropriate backup so when they go and ask, they look like a hero too.

Hoff: Absolutely, so you're not just saying, “Here’s what I’ve done for you X, Y and Z. I deserve a raise.” It’s “Here’s what I’ve done for you and here’s what I will be doing for you, and now let’s negotiate a new paycheck going forward based on these expectations.” So let’s talk about an entrepreneur. What if somebody has their own small business, probably a one-man band of some sort, and they want to close some bigger deals than what they’ve been doing. They want to get some bigger projects, and they’re scare to death, they say, “I don’t have this huge company. I don’t have the portfolio for it, but I do have the talent and I know that.” What would you suggest to them?

Swindling: Your questions are what sells the deal for you. When you're talking to a decision maker and that’s who you are as a solopreneur or an entrepreneur of a small business, you're going and talking to decision makers in order to grant you business, so once you start asking them questions, and not in a rude way, you're not challenging to be superior, you're challenging them to think, and so questions like, “What, at the end of this project, would you want somebody to do? How would you want them to act? How would you want them to feel? What’s your purpose? What do you see three years from now that this affects?” And even with services, “How will this service enhance what you offer?” Start asking them those what and how questions and you'll know you've got them when they kind of say, “Huh. No one’s ever asked me that before,” right? You can say that this was an outstanding success, whatever they’re talking to you about. What would that look like? How would that feel? How would you know? Those what and how questions, being very interested, short questions, one at a time, let them think, let them respond, and then they say, “Well, I haven’t thought about that.” You just sit there and let them think. And once they say it, then you say, “OK, tell me more.”

 It’s living in the question with them because that’s where they are. That’s where the people who make decisions live. They live in questions. They use questions to figure out where they should put their attention next. You think about it. You go in and they go, “OK, what are you here for again? What’s going on? What are we doing?” That’s how they’re catching themselves off and focusing quickly on what’s going on. Also, you talked about the gatekeepers or the people who might prevent you from talking to a decision maker. If you're asking open-ended questions about strategy, gatekeepers won’t be able to answer them and they’ll say, “I need to get you to the decision maker,” and the one thing I would say, if you run into a gatekeeper or someone who’s getting information, you can’t go around them. You’ve got to be inclusive, so you say, “Who, besides yourself, is going to make this decision? How are these decisions made? What do you need to be successful in presenting the information I’m going to give you?” You never are rude to them, you never say, “Well, you don’t have authority.”

You always are inclusive because what the gatekeeper can say is no, and that’s their power. They can’t say yes but they sure can say no.

Hoff: And they love to use that power.

Swindling: Some of them do, yes.

Hoff: Well, especially if they feel slighted. Especially if they feel that they’re not being respected.

Swindling: Exactly. Why would you not respect someone that’s going to help you implement whatever it is you're doing? Nuts, right? So yes, don’t slight the gatekeeper, involve the gatekeeper. Don’t slight the person that you think is beneath you. It’s amazing how many times the boss will bring them in. I worked with a lot of CEOs, and the boss will bring in their executive assistant and say, “OK, tell me about the last story.” She’ll say, “This one’s an obnoxious jerk and this guy, he was friendly, he talked to me. That third one’s sharp. She really knows her stuff.” They’ll do it with people they’re interviewing, they’ll do with people they’re trying to do business with, so that’s just a secret. One other secret that I don’t think anybody told me, if a CEO or a high-level decision maker ever tells you something personal, such as, “Yes, my car broke down.” Or “I’m in such trouble with my kid,” or “Yes, I’m not sure what I’m going to get her for our anniversary, it’s coming up.” It has nothing to do with what we’re talking about now, the business. That is actually a secret that they trust you because think about it: The high-level decision makers, they don’t have anybody they can tell stuff to. They always have to keep the happy face on, or look like the business is doing well, but if they let you in on a little secret, just say, OK, they trust me, I’m not going to violate that trust. Bosses that are like that very rarely have the knowledge to say, “You’re doing a great job.” The way they tell you you're doing a great job for their company is to give you more business or to introduce you to other people.

That’s one more thing for your entrepreneurs, one other question you can ask is, “I love doing business with you. I love doing business with your company. I love how straightforward you are,” whatever it is. “Who do you know that’s like you that I should meet? I’m always trying to expand my portfolio. I’m always trying work with people like you. Who, besides yourself, should I contact?” And you'll be surprised, they won’t have thought that you needed business until you actually tell them, and then they’re happy to connect you if you’ve done a good job for them, because they trust you.

Hoff: Absolutely, and what I really like about this is, driving home the point that it’s not just about asking because you can go and ask for things and if somebody doesn’t like the way you've asked that, they’re just going to say no because we get asked for things all day long, right? But it’s about the finesse, it’s about having that respect, that intuition, reading a little bit into emotions, kind of putting yourself in the other person’s position, and then you ask those questions. Because I don’t want people to take away from this, OK, I’m just going to go ask for everything I want from people. You're probably going to hear no if you don’t do it with a little bit of finesse. If you don’t do it with a little bit more understanding, correct?

Swindling: Yes, I would say kindness, but I will say that is one thing that I’m shocked about, a lot of the people you ask will just give it to you, and that’s where the big aha was for me is, we hold ourselves back. We hold ourselves back because we say, “I’d never do that unless I knew them.” Well, the people you're asking a lot of times, it may be out of your comfort zone, but it’s certainly not out of theirs. They get asked questions all the time. Your question’s not the first one like yours a lot of times, or you think you're going to be embarrassed. Why? Who cares? Go ahead and ask. They wouldn't know that you want to go do this project. They wouldn't know that you're interested in getting more money. You've never asked for more money, so go ahead and ask outside your comfort zone and get used to that, knowing that, “Yes, this is outside my comfort zone but they might bring it down to something more reasonable and if I don’t start a little higher, if I don’t ask for a little bit more, if I don’t tell them what I really want, I’m going to keep getting what I’m getting or less.”

Hoff: So tell me in a couple of situations, let’s say outside of work or outside of something like we were talking about that is the high-risk environment, but what are some situations, maybe when it comes to our credit card bills, or it comes to debt, or it comes to a phone bill that we just don’t want to pay because we think it’s way too expensive, they’ve overcharged us for something  - how can we go and successfully ask for what we want?

Swindling: OK, so first off, let’s pretend that you've already asked at the store, so you’ve gotten used asking for something or ask to cut in line somewhere. Double down on everyone and ask outrageously. Go cut in line. Go say, “Hey, I only have two items.” Get behind the person with the big cart and say, “Hey, can I get in front of you?” “Hey, I just need to go talk to them. Do you mind if I talked to them?” Cut in line. Get used to asking, then, pick up the phone on the phone bill. Call them and say, “Wow, this is a shock. Can you walk me through this?” If you want to, you can detail it with them. “What about this charge? What about this charge? What about this charge?” Let’s say it’s a cellphone. There must be another plan the next time, and you tell them what that might be. “Can you tell me what my options are here?” Let’s say they put you on a different plan and you think you're still going to have to pay that bill. Say, “Is there any kind of credit you can give me on this phone bill that I just got? What else could you do? Because this is a huge chunk.” You have medical bills, let’s say, and you've put them on your credit card or they’re billing you all constantly. “What kind of payment plan could I work out on this?” When I used to represent people and they were so scared years ago, I would have business owners or people I’d work with and they’d say, “I think I’m going to file bankruptcy now.” “Oh, no, what can we do?” And they didn’t want to file it, so we would call the credit card companies and say, “I can borrow $5,000 from my mom. I have a couple of different credit cards that I can pay off. I’d prefer to pay off you all. You’ve been nice. What’s the least amount you will take to pay this off? And will it affect my credit score or my credit reporting? How will you report it?” That’s real key, you want to make sure that you're not going to get a ding on that. You can call your credit card companies and say, “Well, I’ve been with you for all these years. What is the interest rate you can give somebody like me who’s been with you all these years?” The biggest thing is, again, they want to trust you and maintain that relationship, so you want to ask them for that. You might be calling and asking them for something inappropriate or something their company won’t allow them to do, so that’s not the person you'll be talking to. You might want to talk to someone else.

Hoff: Absolutely, and let’s talk about men versus women because I think this is a big question that’s always in society. Why do women often make less than men? Or do women make less than men in all industries? Or is it because women just don’t know how to ask for what they want? What does your research find when it came to being able to ask for what you want for men versus women, and is there a difference?

Swindling: There is in a couple of things, so there’s actually some books out and one is “Women Don’t Ask,” and that was based on a study that the authors had done, and women didn’t ask for raises and certainly didn’t ask when they were negotiating upfront to get paid. What is my starting salary? So why is that? Well, a lot of women wrote in and said, “Oh, I don’t feel comfortable asking. I’m a woman. I was brought up not to ask.” So the very first thing is, stop it. [laughing] Woman, stop it. There is more money on the table, ask them. You could even ask people, “What would you do in my case?” Ask them. Raises and women, we’ve talked about, but here’s the one thing: Women, when you hear the word, are you ready for the swear word, Jenny? Because this is a huge one for people. “Negotiation.” Negotiation, are you OK, Jenny?

So women, all negotiation is, is making a series of requests. You're asking them something, they respond and they may ask you something, that’s all it is. Because when you take that word out of the whole equation, we do just as fine, and at times better than men. Just ask, and when you hear the word “negotiation,” you say, “Oh, I don’t use that word. That’s a swear word for me. I talk about requests, I talk about making relationships.” Just say that yourself. So first off, go ahead and ask. Second, negotiation just means a series of requests, and then the last one, this is for all of us because again, 65 percent of us would rather ask for someone else. My workaround on that, Jenny, is when I was in law school, I didn’t want to look stupid. I did not want to be the ding-dong raising their hand and everybody goes, “Ugh, she’s such an idiot,” and look at you crazy. I don't know if anybody else is out there with that kind of a competitive environment. It stinks. But what finally occurred to me about month in was I was really going into a lot of debt. My husband was delivering pizzas and also going to school, and it would be a little bit more embarrassing for me to fail out of school than ask a question and have the students around me who cannot hire me, who cannot pay me anything, think I’m stupid. So the workaround is who, besides myself, does this benefit if I ask for a raise and I get it, what does that mean? Well, that means that my family and I can move out of our apartment, we can pay off debt, we can go on a vacation. If I ask for a better job assignment, how does that help me? Well, it helps me, yes, get the better job assignment but who else does it help? It helps my co-workers if I’m going to be more pleasant. I’m going to be the better person. My customers are going to be served better because I’m more interested in that assignment. My boss is going to be happier because I’m going to stick around, because you're letting me do something that I’m good at or I want to try, so start thinking about who besides yourself could be affected, and it benefits some by asking for what you want.

Hoff: So if you're too afraid to ask for that raise for yourself, ask it for your kids. Ask it for your family. Ask it for the people that you know are really going to benefit from having that extra security and whatever it is that you want to negotiate in life. That’s a good idea, it’s getting yourself out of the equation, make it less personal, make it as if you are negotiating on behalf of somebody that you truly care about and you might be able to stick to your guns a little bit more. So are there any other tools or resources that people can access in order to really practice this more?

Swindling: Oh, yes. Go to askoutrageously.com, and in there is a TedX talk to kind of get you geared up and ready to go, but there are a ton of bonus tools, so if you'll click through on those bonus tools, you'll have, “How do you prepare to ask?” Strategies. You can even figure out, “Oh, great. I’m going to ask her, are you?” There’s an assessment and then there’s two free assessments on “So what’s their deal? What’s somebody looking for when I’m making a request to them?” There’s also “What’s my deal?” “What am I looking and what should I concentrate on?” There’s tons of stuff on that, so askoutrageously.com and it’s free to all of your listeners.

Hoff: Oh, perfect, that’s fantastic. All right, so if you want to practice and you need some little tools or worksheets and you want to get some better ideas, askoutrageously.com, also pick up the book “Ask Outrageously” and you're going to end up in a much better position to ask for what you want and be successful in giving it. So I know we’ve talked a little bit about ways you can practice negotiating which is start at a garage sale or ask to cut in line. What are three solid takeaways right now if somebody says, “OK, I’m not very comfortable asking for what I want, I need to get comfortable. I want to get comfortable.” What are three things they can do today or this week to get themselves in the zone?

Swindling: Ask three times outrageously. Go out there, take the asking challenge, and by the end of the week, what I’d like you to do is ask at least three times for something outside your comfort zone. Wherever that is, I’d like if you are really, really wanting to work at this for work, I’d ask you to do two of them professional and one can be personal, so ask for more business, ask a client to return a call, follow up on something and ask for a little bit more, ask for an extended deadline, ask for someone from a different department who’s never helped you to help you, ask outrageously outside your comfort zone at least three times. That’s the asking challenge.

Hoff: OK, and so finally, our show is called Charged Up. What gets you charged up about asking outrageously for things that you would never expect to get?

Swindling: I love that people love to help me. I’ve always wanted to help other people and it is actually a gift to allow other people to help you get what you want, and it’s taken me many, many years to know that allowing other people to help you actually feels good to them too. Isn’t that crazy? It feels great to us to help others but if you ask someone and allow them to follow through, it’s a kindness you're doing to them. It’s an act of kindness. It’s not anonymous, you ask them straight out and you see what happens.

Hoff: Perfect, all right. Thank you so much. Now, this has been a fascinating discussion and I really highly recommend your book, “Ask Outrageously.” It’s a quick read, it’s an easy read, and it has some really great takeaways, something that we can all benefit from, so thank you so much.

Swindling: Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it. 

See related: Charged Up! podcast: Unexpected Tools for Success


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Updated: 11-21-2017