3 steps to an effective 'ask'

The keys are a personal connection, a value proposition, and perseverance.

By Meredith Somers  |  February 14, 2018

tracy chadwell article

Tracy Chadwell, founding partner at 1843 Capital, speaks at the Feb. 9 MIT Venture Capital and Innovation Conference.

Why It Matters

How you ask for something matters just as much as what you want. Time to improve your request.

Whether asking for a job, a raise, or money, it’s important to not only know your audience, but yourself. In a Feb. 9 talk at the MIT Venture Capital and Innovation Conference, 1843 Capital founding partner Tracy Chadwell shared three steps to improving your chances for a positive outcome.

Know who you're talking to
Knowing your audience is the most difficult and critical step, and is also something people do the least, Chadwell said. But it doesn't have to be.

"It's easy to go onto LinkedIn, it's easy to Google someone, it's easy to find out what they're interested in," Chadwell said. "Try to make a personal connection. Really understanding what the venture capitalist strategy is, this is one I really struggle with. People will march up to me in an elevator and start just diving into their pitch without understanding exactly what I do."

Know who you are
Know your value proposition, Chadwell said, because without a value proposition, you're just executing a demand.

"It's really important to have a very concise statement of exactly what you do," Chadwell said. "What's your total addressable market? What is your experience? And have that in a very small format that's digestible."

Be persistent
No doesn't mean no forever, Chadwell said. Make a list of 100 people you want to talk to in a particular sector, and just get started on introductions.

"At least get the ball rolling in that space, and then you'll start to know the sector better and better, and you can do a better job of it," Chadwell said. "But no doesn't mean no, it just means no at that time, for exactly what you're asking."