Many times women will say something along the lines of “Do you think you might maybe be able to perhaps do this thing for me?”. We’re trying to be overly polite. But what we really means is, “Do this, please”. There is a huge difference in how the two are parsed by the intended recipient. How do you phrase your requests?
Be Assertive – Ask For What You Want
Quite simply- don’t plead with someone to give you what you need. Phrase it in terms of “I need X, at Y time, please”. Being polite is good. Being clear is even better. There is no room for misunderstanding when you tell someone precisely what you expect, and what you need. You need to be clear, and to the point of what you need, without beating around the bush, and perhaps confusing your audience. This applies across all situations, professional and private. If you tell your spouse that you need them to pick up the children at 5:00, then they know that they are on the hook. But if you ask “could you maybe consider picking up the kids at 5:00?”, they are going to interpret that as possibly optional, and not something that really needs doing.
Do Not Assume That People Are Mind Readers
The corollary to being assertive, is that you cannot assume that others are mind readers and that they will automatically know what you want, and how to do it. This applies to the business world, as well to personal life. Don’t assume that your colleague at work will be able to anticipate that you need a report by a certain time, unless you tell them exactly when you need it by. Likewise, don’t assume that your spouse will know that you need them to do something, without saying what that thing is, and when you need it by.
Be clear about your needs and expectations. It is much easier for people to help you and make you happy if you enable them to do so by being clear about your expectations.