When you need to request something from a co-worker or direct report, it is important you ask in a way that ensures follow-through rather than a way that elicits a noncommittal response.
Harvard Business Review recommends breaking down your request into the following four elements.
- What do you want, and what would success look like? Be specific regarding your expectations and detail exactly what would constitute a job well done.
- Who do you want it from? When you make a request to a group of people, each person may assume someone else will do what you are asking, so be sure to choose a specific person.
- When do you need it? Give a specific timeline with your request. When you make your expectations clear, you will not need to spend time following up and checking your inbox.
- Why is it important? Explain what is behind your request so the person you ask has some context and understands its significance.