You know all those people you think are jerks for being louder and pushier than you? Here’s a shocker. They get what they want, way more often than you do.
Compared to those who are less straightforward: people, who emphatically say what they want, get what they want more often. Not because other people are intimidated by these so-called jerks. But because other people understand in no uncertain terms exactly what these jerks want.
So, these folks aren’t jerks. They are just really clear about what they want, and certain they need other people to know it. That’s how they get attention and action in their favor.
Say What You Mean = Get What You Want.
What happens when you FAIL to say what you mean, and fail to speak up in terms that are explicit, clear and emphatic? You actually diminish the chance you’ll get what you want. When you are vague, oblique or otherwise understated about your goals? The statistical likelihood of our agreeing to it goes way, way down.
If you pussyfoot around an issue: that’s like giving your audience – a boss, recruiter or colleague – instructions to do more of what you don’t want.
Here are some examples:
If you want recruiters to hire someone else: don’t ask for the job during the interview.
If you want to receive no raise or bonus this year: don’t ask your boss for a specific amount.
If you want to do a massive amount of work alone until way past midnight: don’t ask your co-worker to stay and help you with a specific task.
That’s the key. You must be specific.
You must also speak or write in an authoritative tone.
And you must give unambiguous instructions.
That’s how what you say becomes what you get.
For example, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant report on persuasion guru Robert Cialdini’s experiment on saving a forest.
When signs were posted with warnings that people were stealing petrified wood and irreparably damaging the forest, stealing wood increased dramatically. Then new signs were posted that said: Don’t Steal Petrified Wood. Stealing dropped dramatically.
Whatever your issue – it pays to be a jerk. That is, if you define being a jerk as saying what you want and getting it.