If you have ever struggled with asking for something you need or want, you may find the book Hard asks made easy: how to get exactly what you want by Laura Fredricks, JD worth reading. The author distills a complicated task into something more manageable. The method (make two statements, then ask one question) can simplify your approach and free your mind.
The book delves into four asking types, and includes a quiz to help you determine which one you are. Pros and cons of each type are discussed. The reader is reminded about the importance of tone and proper listening before, during, and after making the ask. Tips are offered on making various types of asks: asking for investments, repayment of debt, charity, health and medical related, including those about hospital procedures, prescriptions, and insurance coverage. A section is even included on spirituality and how to ask for intangible things from a higher power.
Any discussion of asking for something ought to include a section about what to do if your request is denied. A section called “When the answer is no” may be especially useful to readers. What do you have to lose by checking out this book? You may never know unless you ask!
Share in the comments if you’ve ever had to make a hard ask and how it turned out for you.
If you have ever felt like the words you speak are falling on deaf ears, you may want to check out How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
The book is addressed to parents, mostly, but I have found the suggestions presented are useful in many other contexts, too. Teachers will no doubt find them useful, as well as anyone who wants to work on their communication skills or has ever had to deal with difficult people.
The authors learned many of their principles of effective communication from their teacher, Dr. Haim Ginnott, of Columbia University. They went on to hone their approach over many years through their experiences as parents and teachers.
The following principles are taken from Dr. Ginnott’s approach:
- Never deny or ignore a [person’s] feelings.
- Only behavior is treated as unacceptable, not the [person].
- Depersonalize negative interactions by mentioning only the problem. “I see a [broken lightbulb].”
- Attach rules to things, e.g., “[People] are not for hitting.”
- Dependence breeds hostility. Let [people] do for themselves what they can.
- Limit criticism to a specific event—don’t say “never”, “always”, as in: “You never listen,” “You always manage to break things”, etc.
- Refrain from using words that you would not want [anyone] to repeat.
- Ignore irrelevant behavior.
The book presents these ideas using amusing vignettes of common scenarios and how best to handle them. If you like this book, you may also be interested in the following by the same authors:
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
Liberated Parents, Liberated Children
Between Brothers & Sisters: A Celebration of Life’s Most Enduring Relationship
How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk
Today is the first annual National Day of Listening, sponsored by StoryCorps. The purpose of the day is to encourage you to listen to and record a story from the life of a relative or friend. The day after Thanksgiving is ideal since many people have the day off from work, and many families gather for the long weekend.
Capturing memories is beyond any price and you – and your children and grandchildren – will be glad you did. History taught in school may be about dates and big events, but the real flavor of history is in how people lived every day and how those big events affected them. Recording the story of how your Dad rode his horse every day to the one-room schoolhouse, or how your grandmother cooked elaborate meals on a wood burning stove not only brings them to life once again, it keeps them alive for future generations. Find out how your Uncle Bill felt when he returned from the war in Iraq, your Mother’s stories of moving away from home for the first time to go to law school, of the time your cousin broke his leg playing on the swing set or how your brother managed to flip your Dad’s car – twice. Listening may be the greatest gift you can give both to the storyteller and to yourself.
StoryCorps website has some excellent resources to get you started – how to get ready for the interview, how to actively listen to the speaker, how to record the stories (either in writing, on audio or on video) and even offer a Question Generator to help you get started. They also encourage you to share your stories through their website and list several that are available to listen to for inspiration.
For more information about StoryCorps and their goals, visit their website or check out Listening is an Act of Love by David Isay, a collection of some of the most inspiring and moving stories that have been recorded so far. You’ll be motivated to not only record some of your family’s stories today, but to make it an annual holiday tradition.