Jack Canfield, in his book The Success Principles, says, “Ask! Ask! Ask!” (principle #17). He outlines five ways to ask for what you want.
- Ask as if you expect to get it.
- Assume you can.
- Ask someone who can give it to you.
- Be clear and specific.
- Ask repeatedly.
Image ©Pat Carney, Last Rays
Surely you’re familiar with these two famous sayings about asking.
You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
It never hurts to ask.
“I just got a new website. Will you please check it out and tell me if I’m on the right track?”
This is from someone who either (1) doesn’t know me or what I do for a living–like evaluate websites for artists; (2) isn’t respectful of my time and commitments to clients; or (3) is kind of clueless as to how the world works.
A better question would have been: “I’ve been reading your book and set up a new website according to your guidelines. I’d love for you to look at the photo I have at http://xxxxx and tell me if this is what you were thinking when you recommended action shots.” Okay, that’s not really a question, but it is a specific request for a single specific thing that doesn’t require I look through the entire site.
“I just linked to your website. Will you please add my link to yours?”
This is another clueless soul. Link exchanges are something we did in the late 90s! You add a link when there is a site that you particularly like and think your readers might also enjoy. You add links to show genuine friendship and affection. You don’t add a link to get something in return. This is almost a form of bribery.
Incidentally, you can add my link to your site AND be rewarded without resorting to bribery. Just sign up to be an ArtBizCoach.com affiliate.
I’m sure there are many other examples of asking for something the wrong way. I’d love to hear your insights.
Addendum one hour later and one hour wiser: I used the above examples because it’s my world and what I know. I bear no ill will toward anyone who sends me these questions. But they don’t get my attention. I usually just delete them because I have so many other responsibilities that are clearer. I don’t have time (and most people don’t have time) to go back and forth in email asking for clarification. I guess the bottom line is that email makes us lazy. Be careful what you send. If it’s under the name you use as an artist, your reputation is on the line.
Ask! Just ask wisely and kindly.