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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Introverts can Go for the No, Plan for the Yes

In a Leadership for Life course, I was once given instruction to see how many times I could ask a question that could be answered by "No".

"Get 10 No's a day" was the recommendation. Really?? I hate it when people say NO!

Many thought this bizarre - why would we want to ask questions that seek a "no" response?

Aren't we better off playing toward the "yes"?
But I knew exactly where this was going - I could sense it based on who I am.

I hardly ever asked questions that could potentially get "no" answers. Those were too uncomfortable. My introverted experiences with getting "no" shut me down. Just thinking about this made these huge vibrations go off in my brain - "You can't handle NO!"

So when this course instructor said to get 10 no's a day, I realized that was the best advice I could get for stepping out of my comfort zone, eventhough I hated it.

I began asking silly things of waiters - "may I have more water?" soon was followed with "could we have more rolls, too?" "Would you please divide up our checks separately?" and sometimes, "could I get this reheated?"

As I asked these questions, I felt  more authority.

I asked the questions with a smile on my face. In my intent to get 10 no's, I was getting only yes's. I couldn't believe it.

Then the asking transferred into my business dealings. "Would you be willing to make this connection for me?" "May I attend that networking event with you next time?" and then slowly I began making the bigger asks - "Based on what you want in communication support, does this fit with what you have in mind?"

I felt fully alive. Suddenly, like when I stand backstage before I perform with my band - I felt expectation and hope when sitting with a prospect. I loved it. I didn't know how the situation was going to turn out, but I knew I was prepared to accept it. Will they say no?

If so, I am that much closer to achieving my result of seeing how far I can go. But this was my business. Do I risk asking these tough questions? If so, I am leading. I am purposeful.

Can you relate?

If you can, it's hard for you to ask for the sale. It may be hard to get a co-worker to assist you. It may be hard to delegate or to pick up the call to seek an appointment.

Desensitize yourself by seeking No.

Although you don't plan to get the no, plan to ask questions that you otherwise woudn't ask for fear of getting no. Simply asking while desensitizing yourself from the fear.

Try it for 7 days - get 10 no's a day. Let me know what happens!