Have you ever wondered why some people always know how to get what they want? It may look like they're gifted or clever or lucky, but the truth is they just know how to ask.

Great communicators are able to frame their ask in a way that gets them what they want. They know how to give meaning to what they want, and then they watch it happen.

Follow this simple system to start making it happen for you.

1. Know what you want.

It's surprising how often people say they want something but can't really communicate what it is--usually because they haven't fully thought it through themselves. The first step, then, is to make sure you understand exactly what it is you want and that you can define it in positive, clear, and detailed terms.

2. Banish fear and negativity.

Even when you're not aware of its presence, a deep-seated fear of failure or rejection can undermine you. When this lurking monster shows up, it can make you feel insecure, which threatens your confidence and can make you step inward instead of forward. Remember that the biggest risk of all is not trying. Look your fear in the eye and go for it anyway.

3. Understand whom you're asking.

It's easy to get so caught up in what you want that you forget whom you're asking it of. People have varying and deeply held emotions, values, experiences, and viewpoints. They're prone to their own biases and perceptions--and, of course, so are we. Keep in mind that you are dealing with another human being, and communication built on trust, understanding, and respect will be most likely to lead to an outcome that makes both of you happy.

4. Make sure you know what's being offered.

The best way to do this is to listen and ask questions. Pay attention to what's not being said. Stay focused and take notes if you need to. A clear understanding will help you know if you're on the road to a good outcome or being sidetracked with distractions.

5. Start with small wins.

In a more long-term situation, start by asking for small things. Make it easy for those you're negotiating with to develop the habit of saying yes to you.

6. Finally, bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than anything else.

If your first ask doesn't work, try a different approach. Be flexible but determined until you get what you want. Those who fail are often the ones who don't realize how close they are, so they just give up.

Try this the next time you want something and see how it works!

Published on: Apr 30, 2015