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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Making a Successful Routine Request

Maybe you're used to yelling at the dinner table, "More meat!"  Maybe someone brings you more meat. 
Maybe you think that's the way to ask for something in the workplace too.

It is not.

Just as you would not yell "More meat" at the waiter in a restaurant, you should not holler versions of what you want in person or through emails in the workplace for help or for folders or any kind of information that you need.

Perhaps you have been doing this unwitttingly, and you have been getting what you asked for.
That's because people want you to go away, and that's the quickest way to make sure you leave.

Chewing on your hunk of meat, you walk off not realizing that people wonder which cave you live in and if you would enjoy the perks of civilization, like indoor plumbing and a stove.  When you behave like a cave dweller, you don't leave a very positive impression behind.

It's hard to know if you have been living in a cave. (Plato explains this in his book The Republic.)

But if you don't want to read Plato, consider this question:  Have you been demanding what you want the way a baby does who cries for a bottle until someone puts the bottle in his/her mouth?

If so, stop.  Learn to use words to communicate what you want, and these words should be laced with "Would you mind?" and "Is it possible" or "Would it be convenient?"   You see?  Words of courtesy and respect can do what demands and yelling have previously accomplished, only there's a greater benefit.

People will have a greater respect for you in the workplace and be glad to hear from you again.

Making routine requests is part of any workplace routine.  Don't fall into the bad habit of routinely hollering or demanding.  Instead, make your routine requests special:  be polite and considerate.  When you are, second helpings of help will follow.  When they do, say the same words you said after the first help was given and received, "Thank you."

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