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Become an ask master

by on
in Admins,Career Management,Office Management,Workplace Communication

Following a speaking engagement for administrative professionals, I found myself listening to familiar comments. “My supervisor is so busy I never get a chance to have more than a two-minute conversation, and she never gives me feedback, so I never know what she is thinking.” In these circumstances you need to ask for what you need to be successful.

It’s not about multitasking, it’s about multiasking. You need to go to your supervisor whenever necessary and ask how you can be more effective.

The answer is always no if you don’t ask. Just get up and ask.

Do your homework. Want new software? Brainstorm all possible concerns and gather facts and details to support your request. Post a question on a social networking site specific to admins and get a bevy of great support.

Confidence is key. Walk in like you own the joint, and simply ask. Avoid any up-front cliches such as, “Well, this probably isn’t the best time to ask” and just ask.

Stories sell. Stories go straight from the head to the heart. Stories are memorable and sticky. We can relate more to a story. Help your supervisor sell your idea up the ladder by providing him with a catchy way to communicate your desire.

Humor helps. When all else fails, find a way to keep it lighthearted.  Asked for a raise and turned down? Try your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice from “Terminator” and say,  “OK, I understand we need to revisit this in a few months, but I’ll be back!

What to ask for?

Ask for time: “I need 10 minutes of your time to review your expenses for the accounting report due at week’s end.”

Ask for clarity: “I want to focus my efforts on the right thing, and I’d like to ask you some detailed questions about this assignment.”

Ask for feedback: “Now that we’ve been working together on this project, is there anything you’d like me to approach differently?”

Ask for a change in deliverables: “I appreciate the information you provided. Is it possible to (also receive backup data, send it in an Excel spreadsheet, get additional sources)?”

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