Her name was A.
She had funk to her; style. She was a bohemian turned business woman, and a proper English girl, at heart. She was tall, self-assured, and the kind of woman who refreshingly said, “no thanks” without worrying about hurting your feelings.
No thanks, I don’t drink.
No thanks, I’ve got to get to bed.
No thanks, I’ve got my own ride.
But perhaps the “no thanks” I appreciated the most related to a story she told as we sat around a woodstove fire, cozied up together in plaid wool blankets.
“I wanted the jacket, but it was too much,” she said. “So I simply asked: Any movement on the price? Next thing you know, I left the store having only spent 400 quid, instead of 5.”
We all looked at her incredulously. “I wouldn’t have thought to negotiate with a traditional store!” someone said. “I wouldn’t have had the guts!” said another. And meanwhile, I sat there applauding how gorgeous and eloquent the language “is there any movement on ____________?” is.
So much of THE ASK has nothing to do with the question, and everything to do with the way you’ve posed it. So much of communication has nothing to do with the words, and everything to do with the way they’re spoken. So much of what is understood, has nothing to do with the message, and everything to do with the way it’s written. (Which is why I’m pro emoji / exclamation point / GIF for business writing, despite the camps of folks that say these things make you seem unprofessional.)
Sometimes I wonder how much more confident we’d feel, money we’d make, goals we’d achieve, things we’d ask for, and desires we’d defend…if only we knew how.