Why is this so hard?
Kids know how to do it. In fact, they can repeatedly pull the “Can I …” trigger until you would image they get some kind of elbow injury.
Having been on the receiving end of the “Can I?” game, I’ve watched how a pro does it. The initial approach is straightforward.
He asks. Pure and simple. In our house, often the pro gets a reply that he doesn’t like.
So, after a minute or so, he asks again. To his horror, he gets the same unappealing answer.
Perhaps next it is a re-framed question. Something a bit different. “Can I do it later? Can I do it tomorrow?”
If he still does not receive the right answer, he adds some flair: The add-on.
“Can I do it IF I …” This is a savvy move, for the qualifier makes the recipient believe they are negotiating. This is smart. It also serves to elongate the conversation. Fatigue sets in.
This is the time for the extreme level of difficulty. Time to unveil the ever-so-slightly desperate switcheroo. The “Why can’t I …” refrain. Only the best can keep a level head and dry eye at this level. Whining doesn’t score extra points, and actually allows the recipient to know they might have the upper hand.
Today I tried the “Can I” game for myself. I’m not a big player. Not too comfortable with it. But now, I wonder why I don’t play this game more often.
Because, you know, I’m finding that most people are pretty accommodating.
So today when I asked, “Can I get you to move my book from the childrens book section of your store to right there across from the cash register where far more people will see my book?” the lady on the other end of the phone said, “Sure.”
Clearly she didn’t know the game.