Culturally, it's not always the norm to ask directly for what you want-or we do a terrible job of it (and women are worse, according to the New York Times). Instead of specifying what we want, we hem and haw about ideas, often walking away from great conversations without clearly articulating our message, what we hope to achieve, and how the other person can directly help us.

Creating a great ask (and learning the ability to say no) are two skills that successful people learn how to do really well. When you ask well, you can get what you want more quickly-saving you time and energy. In the past decade, some of the things I've asked for and negotiated for include: asking for multiple raises and getting them consistently, negotiating salary bumps of 20% or more (with credit to Ramit Sethi's persuasion tactics), winning over $50,000 in scholarships (competitions and essays were involved), and recently raised $33,000 for charity: water by promising to swim naked from Alcatraz to San Francisco if we raised enough money.

In addition, I've helped clients understand persuasion tactics and develop scripts to ask for what they want, including the delicate art of deciding to do it anyways and asking for forgiveness rather than permission. Several people asked me to collect my notes on how to ask and share them publicly. Here are my top tips for creating a great ask-in order to get more of what you want.