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Mastering the Art of the Ask for Women in the Workplace


Growing up, I used to go with my dad to drop off and pick up the clothes at the neighborhood laundromat. Whenever he lost his ticket to claim his clothes, the laundromat owner would say: ‘No ticket, no wash.’ And she was not kidding!

When it comes to building visibility, impact, and the support from your leadership, if you don’t ask, you’re likely not going to get. 

This is a double whammy because our male counterparts tend to be 4 times more likely to make an ask for a raise or a higher salary when initially hired according to Women Don't Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever.

If this sounds familiar, the good news is that you’re certainly not alone. The not so good news is that you could be losing out on $1,000,000.00 during the course of your career according to the recent UC Davis study, titled Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Great Gender Divide.

The ability to effectively make an ask is a valuable skill that can open doors, forge partnerships, and propel careers forward. For female leaders and emerging leaders alike, mastering the art of the ask can be a game-changer in navigating the complexities of the business world. 

While we are waiting for the institution of corporate America to change, there are a few proven processes that you can do to master the art of the ask, and negotiate for what you want and deserve.

Here is a proven framework from my Fearless Female Leadership enterprise journey that will help you get started:

Adopt an ECO Mindset—by developing empathy, curiosity, and optimism:

  1. Empathy: The foundation of a successful ask begins with empathy. Before approaching someone with a request, take a moment to consider what it's like to be in their shoes. What challenges are they facing? What goals are they striving to achieve? By putting yourself in the other person's position, you can tailor your ask in a way that resonates with their needs and priorities. This demonstrates genuine care and understanding, laying the groundwork for a more receptive response.
  2. Curiosity: Adopting a curious mindset can further enhance your ability to make a compelling ask. Shift your focus from your own desires to understanding the perspective of the person you're approaching. What motivates them? What are their aspirations? By asking thoughtful questions and actively listening to their responses, you can uncover valuable insights that inform your approach. This not only strengthens the connection between you and the other person but also allows you to tailor your ask in a way that aligns with their interests and values.
  3. Optimism: Finally, approach the ask with a sense of optimism and positivity. Visualize the outcome you desire and focus on the potential for success, rather than dwelling on fears or doubts. By maintaining a positive mindset, you project confidence and enthusiasm, which can be contagious to those around you. Additionally, framing your ask in a way that highlights the benefits and opportunities for both parties can make it more compelling and irresistible.

By cultivating an ECO mindset—marked by Empathy, Curiosity, and Optimism—you can create a powerful framework for making successful asks. This mental preparation not only enhances the effectiveness of your requests but also strengthens relationships, fosters collaboration, and paves the way for future opportunities. 

So, the next time you find yourself gearing up to make a request, remember to build your ECO mindset, so you’re confident and prepared to make an irresistible ask. 

Stay tuned for future articles, where I’ll be discussing how to effectively structure your words and what to do when you receive push back. 

Be sure to reach out if I can help you, your team, or your organization with 1:1 coaching, speaking, or sharing more about the Fearless Female Leadership enterprise journey. 

Cheering you on always, 
- Sheryl


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