1. Ask, and be specific.
This suggestion is so obvious that it may seem borderline insulting, but experts say not following it is the biggest obstacle to getting what you want. People often want something but either haven’t articulated it clearly enough, or at all. You have to remind yourself that people aren’t mind readers. They are so wrapped up in themselves that others’ needs take a backseat. It takes confidence to be able to assert your needs, but the more you do it, the more natural it will become.
2. Help others come up with your idea.
If you know you are going to be pitching a notoriously hard-to-sell person, it’s better to hold off presenting your whole package and instead open up a discussion in which you gently nudge her toward your plan. Disclaimer: this strategy is bit more involved and might take more than one session to achieve, so use it if you need to sell a big idea (say, a move across the country to a partner or a vision to implement more telecommuting at the office) or if your plan doesn’t require immediate action.
3. Watch your words.
When we’re talking about what we want, it can be difficult to keep ourselves out of it—it is what we want after all. But sometimes what we say may not even be heard if we are unintentionally offending the other person with our word choices.
“Communication, both verbal and nonverbal, is super important in any conversation. But especially when you want others to be on board with your suggestions, you have to avoid things that will make them defensive, because they will be less likely to agree with you.”