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Increase Your Chances of Getting a Dialog and a Yes

Bouncing into the room, you exclaim, “That restaurant on Main has great omelets and the best herbed home fries I’ve ever had. Let’s meet there for brunch tomorrow?”

colorful plate of assorted fruit
Who can resist this?

Your mouth waters in anticipation. “They have exotic fruit bowls, too.” Visions of orange papaya and bright green mint leaves contrasted against glistening red dragonfruit beckon.

“No. Thank you.” The refusal is offered flatly, with finality and no explanation.

At least you got a thank you, but that’s not the answer you wanted.

Should you persist by offering another suggestion? Or try to encourage a “yes” with a guilt trip, delivered with an exaggerated glum expression for maximum effect.

“That’s OK, I’ll stay home and eat by all by myself, alone.”

Unless it’s delivered hilariously and openly, persuasion by shame doesn’t create enticing invitations. It’s manipulative and annoying.

When you want a conversation instead of a flat no, craft open-ended questions, which require more than a monosyllabic yes or no answer. Avoid beginning a question with, “Do you want to….” Instead, start with what, how, or tell me.

There are three more suggestions for continuing the conversation in the previous post, starting with clarifying if the refusal is not now or not ever.

You can also increase your offers’ success odds by revisiting my favorite acronym: WAIT: Why Am I Talking? What Am I Thinking?

Oddly, we often don’t know what our primary goal is until we understand our motivations. Asking yourself to WAIT creates a pause that helps you know your desires more thoroughly. WAIT will tell you the best way to phrase your requests, in this case, brunch.

If what you truly want is to eat a luscious brunch at the only restaurant in town that serves the most scrumptious home fries you’ve ever had, you might simply accept the rejection as final and ask someone else to accompany you or go solo.

Sharing is your true goal.

But suppose your request was an enthusiastic attempt to entice your distracted partner or recently distant friend to spend more time with you by vividly describing a delightfully sensory meal. In that case, you might get better results by starting with your true aim.

“I’d like to spend time with you and know how much you enjoy brunch at that fun restaurant. I think that be enjoyable for you. If you don’t want to do that, I’m open to what you would prefer to do together instead.”

By highlighting your actual goal, you’ve invited a conversation, put the onus on the other person to negotiate, and gave options for meeting both party’s goals.

Invitations to negotiate to yes can be a challenge. The best way is a straightforward, non-manipulative, positive-emotion conversation that is thoughtful, specific, authentic, and considerate.


Now, what do you like better than crispy home fries and exotic fruit for brunch?

We'll start with your favorite food and then move onto whatever else you'd like to discuss.

Directions, diligence, and decisions are easier when you work with a trusted partner.


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