If you don’t ask you won’t receive, says Marlene Waldock. The rule goes for business as well as your personal life, and women, says Waldock, often have more trouble than men in asking for what they need. Often our inner voices are saying negative things that we need to overcome in order to move forward.

Waldock, a motivational and inspirational speaker, will discuss how women can learn to “Just Ask” at a networking event Wednesday, March 13, at 5 p.m. at the Miele USA Headquarters on Route 1 North. The event is sponsored by the Women in Business Alliance of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. Cost: $25. Register online at www.princetonchamber.org.

The owner of Verona-based 1st Impression Communications, Waldock works with large corporations and entrepreneurs to refine and enhance their communication skills, marketing messages and presentation and public speaking abilities.

A 20-year veteran speaker and host of New Jersey Business on News 12 New Jersey for five years, Waldock has been featured in “Business Week” on the topic of communication skills in difficult times. In 2004 she founded a women’s empowerment division of her company, which has helped hundreds of women to make positive changes in their lives.

Waldock says the purpose of this division “is to assemble women from all walks of life in a safe, encouraging, and comfortable environment that offers personal reflection, group interaction, and inspiring stories.

“The outcome of this energizing forum is to identify a vision for the future, release negative forces and limitations, be inspired by other women to explore all the possibilities, find positive support, and take a step closer to becoming the person they long to be.”

A published author, she has written articles for women in Family Circle Magazine, and Garden State Women. She was an ongoing contributor to NJBiz for three years, and has also written a book of inspirational poetry.

A native of western Pennsylvania, Waldock graduated from the University of Pittsburgh “too many years ago to mention,” she says, with a degree in psychology. She also studied at Georgia State University. Growing up in New Castle, PA, her mother worked at a number of jobs, including local factories and the hospital. “I was always a performer,” she says, from playing piano and public speaking in high school to her years in television. “I’ve been told I’m an influencer.”

Her work as a motivational speaker stemmed from a meeting with Oprah Winfrey. “I watched her and said to myself, ‘I want to do that. I want to help people be the best they can be. I love it when people say to me, Wow! You just said something that changed my life!’”

Learning to Ask. Waldock’s “Just Ask” program was developed from her own experience. In 2006 she was in the process of setting up day-long inspirational programs for women at the Mansion at Fairleigh-Dickinson University.

“I needed to have lunch available for a large group of women, so I asked a local catering company to sponsor the event, and they said okay. Then I wanted 250 purple pens to give out. I asked, and I got them. I needed to have a 35-page workbook printed. I asked and I got it. I learned that if you just ask, you do receive. One of my friends tells me I’m very hard to say no to.”

Be Positive. Many people, especially women, derail themselves with negativity. They approach the person they are asking in a way that “assumes a no,” says Waldock. Using phrases such as “You probably are not interested in this, but…” or “This isn’t really important…” immediately diminishes the importance of your question.

“Don’t fear a no,” says Waldock. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You are no worse off than you were before you asked.

Waldock’s Acronyms. Waldock has developed several acronyms using the word “ask” as a way to help people remember to remain positive. “Avoid Scary Knockouts,” and “Assume Standard Known,” for example. “Attempt to Stimulate Knowledge” is a third acronym.

“You should always think about the reason you are asking and what you want to know and make that clear to the person you are asking,” she says. “Make sure that you know the who, what, where, when, and why and that you explain it clearly to the person you are speaking with.”

Personal board of directors. She also suggests that everyone, particularly business owners, develop their “own personal board of directors,” a group of people who are experts in various fields that they can go to ask for advice on a variety of topics.

Celebrating Possibilities. “Women need to believe in themselves and to believe that they are the most important person in their own lives. Believe in the possible,” says Waldock. That belief is the first step in learning how to ask others for what we need.

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