When I make a clear, present, do-able request, I greatly increase my chances
of meeting my needs. Needs are what motivate us to action. When we know what we need, we can strategize how to meet it, and also ask for help from others. When we make requests to meet our needs, we provide opportunities
for others to contribute to our well-being. Likewise, requests from others
provide us with opportunities to contribute to their well-being.
Getting in the flow of giving and receiving is deeply satisfying. Making requests empowers us to be in this flow more often, and meet our
needs more reliably and effectively. A request asks for what we do want, not what we don’t want.
“Would you please put your toys on the shelf?” (what we do want)
“Don’t leave your toys laying around.” (what we don’t want)
A request is stated in action language.
Action language means asking for what we want people “to do”
rather than what we want them “to be.”
“Would you be willing to lower your voice while I’m reading?” (what to do)
“Would you be more respectful of others?” (what to be)
A request asks for an action that is present, specific, and concrete.
“Would be willing to take five minutes now to put your things away?”
(present, specific, concrete)
“Would you keep your desk neat from now on?”
(future, not specific, not concrete)
Check it out for yourself:
When you make a request, ask yourself: Does it ask for what I do want,
not what I don’t want? Does it ask for action now? Is it specific and concrete?
Notice how you feel when you make a request.
Notice your response when others make a request.