Ask Permission

If you have something important to say to another person, consider that they might not be open to hearing you.

This will be especially true if what you have to say is something like

  • advice,
  • directions,
  • suggestions,
  • insights,
  • guidance,
  • feedback, or
  • criticism.

These can easily trigger defensiveness. To invite the other person to be more open, ask permission first. Example: “I have a couple of ideas for how you might handle that problem. May I share them?”

Even before you ask permission, be cool with whatever they say: yes or no.

When they see that sincerity in you, they will feel safer and be more willing to be open. When they say yes (and most will choose to give you permission), they will be much more open and committed to hearing your important message.


In your corner,


3 thoughts on “Ask Permission

  1. Hi Mike,

    Excellent point. I use this with my students when I comment on their in-class drawing.
    Same thing with people, it’s too easy for me to blunder in, imagining what I have to say is wanted and needed. I’m learning (at times the hard way) to take pause before I speak up.

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