Think Timing Is Everything In Comedy? It’s Important in Business Too.

In comedy, timing is everything.  It’s true in business too.

Asking for a raise? Asking your customer for an order?  Calling back about a job prospect?

Timing really matters. You may get lucky and just be in the right place at the right time.  But you don’t have to just rely on just luck.  Give some serious thought to when you make requests.   Have a timing strategy.

Forget Mondays and Fridays.  Mondays people are too busy getting their week started.  Fridays, people are winding their week down, and they’re planning for the weekend.

That leaves just Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Figure out the best times on these days to ask.

First thing in the morning or after lunch doesn’t work either.  Too much adjustment or heartburn.  [Don’t ask for anything when people would rather take a nap than listen to your request.]

And don’t start your conversation with. “Got a minute?”  It’s rare that the things that you want will take only a minute.

When you can, schedule a time for a call or an appointment.  That always works better.  It signals to all involved  that you’re serious.

And don’t ask a million times either.  If your request for time or a job or an answer is turned down three or four times by the same person, you might just want to forget it and go on to something or someone else.  I usually say “never give up”, but in situations where you’re not wanted or valued, it might be better just to let it go.

There are other factors to consider too.  You also have to think about your company’s situation or your client’s situation.  If it’s headed towards bankruptcy, it might be hard to get them to send any money your way.  On the other hand, when their business is going through the proverbial roof, it might be a good time to ask.   But don’t hold this rule to always be true.

I worked with a CEO of an insurance company a few years ago who was very strategic in his timing.  He wanted a raise but didn’t ask often.  He waited until the company landed a big client and waited until the money started flowing [not when the contract was signed] before he asked for a bigger share of the bounty. He got a big raise, and a promotion too.

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