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  • Writer's pictureRavi Rajani

how to hear "yes" more often

"Don't ask, don't get." ~ Ghandi

4 simple words, but damn the dude was right!

Sometimes, we just need to ask.

So, what's preventing you from asking for what you want from those who can give it to you?

If I travel back in time to the moments where I've been afraid to ask for what I desire...

The underlying root cause points to one thing:

A fear of rejection.


To slap those four words out of your vocabulary harder than Will Smith at the Oscars...

You need to craft your ask with intention and deliver it with confidence, using a proven framework.

As you begin to hear "YES" more often, you'll gather enough positive evidence to crush the story you once told yourself about getting what you deserve.

The binary question trap

Before we get into it, here's where many get it wrong.

Imagine a sales rep named Jamie who's looking to book a discovery call with Julie.

"Can I get 20 mins on your calendar next week?" asks Jamie on the phone.

Harmless, right?

The good news - Jamie's plucked up the courage to ask.

The bad news - Jamie's question has transported Julie to the following thought process...

"Can I give Jamie 20 mins on my calendar next week?"

Meaning, Julie now lives in a binary world where there are only two options.

Option 1 - Yes

Option 2 - No

Fortunately for Jamie, there's a better way.

Enter the "magic question".

The "magic question"

​Dr. Zoe Chance​ is obsessed with all things influence and teaches her research-driven approach at Yale University.

Her "magic question" is simple, subtle and stunningly effective.

When asking for something, she believes in framing your question in the following way:

“What would it take (insert ask)?”

In Jamie's example, this would look like the following:

"What would it take to get 20 minutes on your calendar next week?"

According to Zoe, it’s a magic question for the following reasons:

  1. It shifts the other party from a judgement or decision-making mindset to one of problem-solving.

  2. It implicitly has the other party committing to the outcome by giving you a roadmap of exactly what needs to happen to make it a reality.

All of a sudden, a healthy, collaborative and human conversation has ensued.

Cool, right?

The best thing is, this can be used ethically and intentionally in every area of your life.

Effective delivery is everything

Even if your "ask" looks good on paper...

You'll land yourself in hot water if your delivery sucks.

Remember these 3 key points:

Slow down:

Decrease the pace of your ask to display confidence and combat nerves.


Don't underestimate the power of an authentic smile. This can impact vocal intonation, warmth and connection.

Zip it:

Once you've asked for what you desire... sit back and listen. Be comfortable with silence and don't talk yourself out of the 'sale'.

Bonus tip:

Use a rising inflection at the end of the question to display curiosity.

The proof is in the pudding

On February 25th 2022, I sent Dr Zoe Chance a connection request on LinkedIn and it was met with warmth.

20 days later, I dropped her a 55-second voice note in the DM's.

Intentional, research-driven and fully personalized.

At the end of my message, I asked Zoe to be a guest on my podcast using her magic question.

She acknowledged it with a smile and kindly accepted my invitation.

On that day, Zoe knowingly took a chance on a podcast that was fresh off the press...

And for that, I'll always be grateful.

In case you're interested...

​Click here​ to listen to the full thang on The Influential Communicator Podcast!

All in all, what I'm trying to say is...

Go out there and get what you deserve!

But remember, this framework isn't an excuse to start pitch-slapping people.

I repeat, "leading with intention" is Batman and "applying context" is Robin.


And there you have it, the "Magic Question".

Happy asking.

I'll see you in your inbox at the same time next week.

Much love,

Ravi Rajani

P.S. Whenever you're ready, here are 2 ways I can support you:

1. [B2B SALES TEAMS & ORGANIZATIONS ONLY] Book me for a storytelling keynote or workshop: Whether it's in person or virtual, to an intimate audience or a room full of thousands, learn more about how your audience can become influential storytellers at your next sales kickoff, offsite or conference.

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