Instead of Asking For Permission, Ask This Question Instead
When asking for permission (from a boss, spouse, client, or friend), you're proposing a question that quickly leads to a yes or no answer. In most cases, the subsequent question is going to be, "why?".
Knowing this, it's actually better to ask a question that quickly goes to the root of what we're seeking while also bypassing a knee-jerk response of yes or no. So what is the better alternative question?
What objections do you have for me doing X, Y, and Z?
Here are three examples.
- What objections do you have with me going to the movie Friday night?
- What objections do you have with me running a test PPC campaign?
- What objections do you have with me working from home two days per week?
This question implies your moving forward unless there is a strong reason not to (the departing train effect
), usually soliciting a response. In addition to combating indecisiveness, it also facilitates a listening ear. I've now given you an opportunity to share why I should not do what I propose I'm going to do.
When we authentically pose the question, we also have the opportunity to weigh the answer given against our decision. Out of respect to the other, we can choose yes or no based on the reasons for and against.
So next time, instead of asking for permission, ask for objections. And rapidly get to the root reasons why you may or may not want to proceed.