How To Get What You Want- Every Time!

05-twistThere’s something I do at the start of most meetings that often shocks those there. Some love it. Some hate it. It’s a recipe, though, for getting what you want- in business, and in life. Do you do it?

My current working day is filled with meetings- often 10 to 12 in a day. Some I set up. Usually, given my role, it’s others who have asked to see me- colleagues, potential partners, industry associates, general contacts. I have to move through them quickly, efficiently, and with focus and momentum.

So I often start meetings others have asked for with this question: “Before we begin, tell me this- if you had a magic wand, what would happen at the end of the meeting- what is it you want from me or want me to do?” It’s a concept I encourage all to embrace. Do it for yourselves. This is what I mean. This is the habit I encourage you- and me- to do a lot more of.

Boldly ask for what you want.

Cut through the crap, the long-winded preambles, vague indications, hints, evasive approaches.

Don’t be rude, pushy, nagging. Be grounded in reality regarding what’s possible and what’s fair. And only do it when it really, really matters to you- when it really counts. At those ‘big moments.’

But, all provisos and small print aside, do have courage. Do ask clearly, politely, respectfully, yet firmly- for what you want.

One of two things will happen when you do this.

1. You get what you want- or close to it.

You’re bosses or colleagues are not mind-readers. They are not thinking about you as much as you are thinking about you. So give them the very clear compass point. Make sure it’s a reasonable ask, achievable, worthy and fair. Maybe it’s on the edge a little, maybe you’re pushing it a step beyond the reasonable, but ask anyway. There is a very good chance you will get it, or most of it, given you’re in good shape as a brand and ‘value proposition’ to whomever you’re asking.

2. You won’t get it.

And that’s good too. Because what you do get is clarity. If you ask for something that you feel is fair and something you really want, and the person with the power to grant it says ‘no,’ then at the very least, you know where you stand. And it brings crispness and clarity to another conversation. You either suck it up- or you have a choice. Exit stage left. One door closes- many others open.

Here’s the point. Stop wasting time and angst. Have courage. Ask boldly for what you want. Do it elegantly. And be prepared to get a ‘no.’ That is progress too. One idea to help build the courage is have a clear plan on what you will say and do if you do get a ‘no.’ In this way, there’s no fear- no panic. You have a plan. You’re ready. Breathe deeply. Go forth.

There is of course a risk. I have seen people misjudge it (their ‘brand’ health and standing with their employer) to such an extent that when they boldly ask for something, they get a very negative reaction that brings to a head something there employer was kind of thinking of doing anyway. That’s brutal, but it happens.

If you trust your judgement, are level-headed, grounded, and have the courage of your convictions- then ASK. Good things come from it. And that’s from my heart. (It even worked out alright in the end for Oliver Twist, right!).



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15 Responses to How To Get What You Want- Every Time!

  1. Cecelia Haddad September 17, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    thanks Chris. I have always lived by the motto “If you don’t ask, the answer is always NO”…..

    • Chris Savage September 17, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

      Thanks Cecelia- good to hear from you. Chris

  2. Sam September 17, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    So much time wasted in so many meetings. This is a great approach. Asking for people to submit an agenda and desired outcome prior to a meeting also works well I find.

    • Chris Savage September 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks Sam!

  3. sawicki September 17, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    so true to be a successful salesperson…key tips and always good to be reminded

    • Chris Savage September 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      Well said, Sawicki

  4. Jen September 17, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    Thanks Chris – I am about to have a conversation with a client regarding the behaviour of their new GM towards me. Starting the meeting about what I would like if he had a magic wand has clarified for me what I need to ask him to do. This could not have come at a better time. Thanks again!

    • Chris Savage September 17, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

      Good luck, Jennifer!

  5. Jaqui September 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Chris, always like your considered and direct thoughts and advice. I’ve got some feedback. You say only do it when it really matters. I think that people should take your advice most of the the time on matters/issues/proposals that they believe in and are confident about. If, as you suggest, you put your view/proposal/perspective clearly, politely, respectfully you will be seen as someone who not only can think but can communicate clearly and present a compelling case. This also has the benefit of learning. The more you put yourself, ideas and proposals forward the better you get at it, the more confident you become and the more adept you get at learning to understand that no is not a personal comment but a professional opportunity to listen, learn, rethink, adjust and grow. My favourite word at the moment, as I am so over resilience is agility.
    Your post is provides some good insight to the how, maybe your next one could be about how to take on board the conversation and be agile?

    • Chris Savage September 18, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Thanks Jaqui. I like the suggestion around “agility” and will work on a post around it. There are several really good insights in your comments. Thanks for taking the time. Chris

  6. Jayne Albiston September 17, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Awesome advice! As always!

    • Chris Savage September 18, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks Jayne!

  7. Chris September 18, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Thanks Chris. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I’m always a ‘better” person after reading.
    Kindest Regards

  8. Craig September 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Yes, brilliant insight, thanks!!!

  9. Evelyn April 7, 2016 at 10:45 pm #


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