Have you ever hesitated to ask a question in situations like these?
- To a fashionista sitting directly in front of you at the movie theater: "Would you mind removing your three-foot-high hat so I can see the screen?"
- To a neighbor who doesn't give a whit about other residents in his building: "Would you mind not slamming your front door after midnight on a week night?"
- To a blissfully unaware supermarket shopper blocking a pyramid of holiday goodies by standing smack-dab in front of the display with her overloaded cart: "Would you mind very much moving over a few feet so I could reach that box of cookies over there?"
But how about asking people to help you reach treasured personal or professional goals, to provide the key to missing parts of your plan for success by telling others about their good experiences in working with you, or in knowing you? It's a lot harder to ask a question like that, right?
Very recently I decided to plunge in and participate more fully in one of the social media sites I've been cautiously circling for a while. This decision meant that I have to ask people I've worked with over the past several years, "Would you mind composing a brief recommendation of my skills and of the experience of being colleagues, so that I could post the recommendation on my profile?"
Nothing so terribly difficult about that, right? Well...not really. When I asked the first person on my list, I was quaking in my boots and very happy that he couldn't see how nervous I was as I typed my e-mail request.
Now I've approached about ten people with my request, and it's getting a lot easier to ask, "Would you mind....?" Why? Because I'm getting nothing but positive responses! "Oh, sure." "But of course!" "Delighted to." "I'd be thrilled to write you a recommendation." "Glad you asked me."
Some of the requestees even say, "Let me know what talking points you'd like included, and I'll build my response around them." Wow!
So, would you mind if I stop being anxious about asking, "Would you mind......?"