Be more presumptuous – and get more done and off your plate

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“When will be a good time to start that?” “When will you be emptying the dishwasher?” “When you’re ready to start, call me and I’ll help.” “When it’s ready to go then I’ll do XYZ….”

Can you hear how presumptuous I’m being? How I’m assuming things are going to happen rather than wondering; how I’m asking ‘when’ instead of ‘have’. I’m presuming which is a very subtle and effective way of asking for what you want as if it’s already happening.

You’re coming at your requests, enquiries, questions, from certainty rather than possibility which is a very powerful stance to take. It has the effect of bypassing the ‘if’ something is going to happen and going straight to ‘it happening but without doubt’.

Let me explain.

As women, we’re often more concerned about people pleasing and being liked than we are with actually implementing. I’m not saying you should ride roughshod over people to get things done, of course not – I’m a true advocate of give and take and relationship building – what I am saying though is that instead of leaving wiggle room, go straight for the energy of ‘this is happening already’. It’s an assertive and natural way of asking for what you want which is always my intention, for you to sparkle at work by being true to yourself and being intentional, certain and committed at the same time.

When I studied NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming – the language of the brain and our way of experiencing the world through the patterns we learn – it says in the brilliant introductory book NLP for Dummies, NLP enables you to understand what makes you tick, how you think, how you feel, how you make sense of everyday life in the world around you.  How you can also use it to make sense of how others tick, think, feel which is where ‘presuppositions’ – pre-supposing things as if they’re already happening – is taught as an NLP strategy.

When you presuppose something, you presume something is already happening and you use your language to convey it, what happens is you start to move that person in their head.

If you consider how you ask for what you want as if it’s already happening and by-pass the doubt, you tell the other person what you want without being too confronting and this is where it’s easier to say yes to you.

Here are some presumptuous questions which tell people what you want to happen as if it’s already happening:

  • “What is the best time for you to deliver this to me on Friday?” the only question is what’s the time on Friday – not will you ie no doubt.
  • When will that opportunity be offered to me?” – not will that opportunity be offered to me, it’s just a question of when.
  • Where do you want me to sign this off when you’ve finished it on Thursday?” – it suggests it will be finished on Thursday and the only question is where do you want me sign it when you have.
  • Who else will you tell about this when you’ve come back from this trip?” – it’s not a question of whether you’ll tell anyone else It’s a question of who – it assumes you will and only asks who.

You can hear in each of those questions a presumption, can’t you?  They presuppose something’s going to happen; imagines it happening before they realise it.

That’s the point; the sparkly, magical piece. You have to imagine it happening too so when you ask questions in this presupposing way, other people have to imagine it happening or having happened too. Abracadabra.


I’d love to hear what you think. You can leave me a comment or a note here. Here’s an immediate and practical Gift of you!  A complimentary copy of “Do You Have Trouble Saying NO?”

Let me walk you through the mindsets, strategies and exact words and phrases to use to ensure you keep stronger, more assertive boundaries for yourself and your time without upsetting yourself, or the other person. Also, you’ll receive my twice-monthly eZine filled with more tips, tools, ideas and news.

Kay White
About the author

Kay White is our Show Up & Sparkle blogger. Known as the Savvy & Influential Communication Expert for Ambitious Women in Business, Kay shows professional women how to attract promotion, recognition and rewards at work without feeling they have to ’sell their soul. Kay shows her clients, who are corporate career women at all different stages of their careers, how to naturally attract more income and opportunity all while being true to themselves. Combining strategic moves with influencing skills plus compelling and assertive language and powerful mindsets, Kay draws on her own 20+ years corporate career in the very male-dominated world of London insurance broking. She started at 18 as a Secretary and left as a Director to start her own business. Hosting an annual 3-day Event for corporate women “Show Up; Sparkle & Be Heard LIVE” Kay encourages and shows women how to be the best, most valuable version of themselves. Kay is author of the Number 1 Best-Seller “The A to Z of Being Understood” and you can connect and find out more from Kay at : www.kaywhite.com.

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