My Mum (shown here) is a Dutch immigrant living in Tasmania.
I'm not sure which of those words you latch on to - Dutch, immigrant or Tasmania, but I focus on the word Mum (and all the usual embarrassments and joys that this has brought in my life.)
As a Dutch immigrant, Mum worked hard at assimilating herself into the Aussie life. She ‘Australianised’ her Dutch name JOKE (yep you read it correctly - pronounced yoh-ker) - into Johanna, she got a job, worked hard and didn’t complain about how difficult things actually were.
A few years ago, Mum was coming for one of her visits. She arrives at the tiny airport and is greeted by the friendly Qantas desk guy who completes her check-in efficiently. My Mum then looks him in the eye, and points to the Qantas lounge that she knows is next door to the desk - and says, "I want to go in there."
"And why should I let you in Madam?" asks the kindly desk guy?
"Because my daughter is Platinum!"
He pauses for a moment, looks back at her and says, "Well that's good enough for me," and proceeds to let - not just my mum in, but her best friend too.
Side Note: In another blog, I might tell you what those two scoundrels did once they were in the lounge, but for now, I want to point out two things: The tiny Qantas Lounge my mum & her friend got into.
Firstly how proud I was of my 70-year-old mum for bravely speaking up and asking for what she wanted. Yes, she did it in her demanding Dutch immigrant way, but with my mum, there would have been a giggle and a smile while she said it.
Secondly – my mum was very clear about what she wanted, and more importantly, why. She didn’t waffle or use jargon, nor did she “muddy the waters” with a lot of unnecessary information, she just said what she wanted in one simple sentence.
Kathy Caprino in an article she wrote for Woman @ Forbes titled 10-ways-to-brave-up-how-to-rise-up-speak-up-and-stand-up-boldly-for-yourself states that we should “Ask Bravely.” Her point is that when you know what you want, exactly what you want, then ask for it. In fact, she suggests you should demand it.
I think my mum got it pretty right. She knew what she wanted. She assessed the friendliness of the person who she was speaking with, and she adjusted her behaviour to balance out her ‘demand’ with a giggle and a smile.
Take a moment to think about how you speak up and ask for things, what’s your success rate? Is it better when asking for yourself, or when advocating for others?
Do you consider the readiness of the person you are speaking to?
Are you confident that your preparation ensures that what you are asking for is clear with a what and a why?
For my mum, it wasn’t a big deal if she got into the lounge or not, but maybe you have something that is critical to the resolution of an issue, or the ability to move forward in the project you are working on.
Whether you are giving a corporate presentation, meeting with your work team, or trying to talk yourself into an airport lounge, in the end, you will be asking for something. Knowing how to do this effectively will be a powerful tool in your kit-bag for work and life.
Are you Brave ready? Request your Brave Readiness Assessment here.
PS By the way - I told my mum never to do that again, plus they upgraded the lounge and getting access is no longer about sweet-talking the Qantas guy, or is it?