A “no”-oriented question is more likely to get your request granted
Sometimes the best way to get what you want is to orient the question around a “no” response.
I love this story by Chris Voss, author of Never Split the Difference, about his attempt to invite the late Jack Welch to give a guest lecture:
Welch was in Los Angeles, on a book tour, signing books and greeting attendees. You have enough time to say a quick hello and get a photo.
Your window of opportunity to make a pitch is short and your odds are low. What do you say?
“Is it a ridiculous idea for you to come and speak at the negotiation course that I teach at USC?”
After Welch freezes with a scowl on his face for what seemed like an interminable amount of time, he tells Chris that he’ll pass on the request to his assistant and try to work it into his schedule when he returns to L.A.
A question designed to get a “no” response makes the other person feel in control.
A tricky salesman may try to corner you with loaded questions that get you to say “yes,” but you only feel like you’ve been tricked. “No” gives the person a chance to take something off the table, or let you know if there’s a problem.
So, if you really want a “yes,” then ask a question designed to get a “no.”
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