How to Ask for Equipment:
The Top Ten Dos, Don’ts, and PowerPhrases
for Getting the Equipment and Supplies You Need


Does your boss resist when you ask for equipment that will help you do your job? If so, it might have something to do with how you’re asking.

Make no mistake – life’s a negotiation. And if you need better equipment to do your job well, it’s behooves you to negotiate and negotiate well. Here are some tips to ask for the equipment you want.

1. Personal versus professional

DON’T: make the request personal.
Why not?: A personal request carries less weight.
DO: ask for what you want for professional reasons.
POWER PHRASE / What to say: “This will help my productivity by…”
POISON PHRASE / What not to say: "This will keep me from getting so frustrated…"

2. Individual benefit versus universal benefit

DON’T: limit the benefits to those that affect you.
Why not?: The more inclusive the benefits, the more effective your request.
DO: evaluate and promote the benefits to the boss, department and organization for you to have what you are asking for.
POWER PHRASE / What to say: "What my having this equipment would mean for you (my coworkers, etc.) is…"
POISON PHRASE / What not to say: "I need this because I…"

3. Present a solution to an established problem

DON’T: talk about why you want the equipment before you present the problem.
Why not?: Your boss will form an opinion before they “feel the pain” of the need.
DO: present the problem to create the desire for a solution, and then present the solution as the answer.
POWER PHRASE / What to say: "We have a problem...(Detail.) However, I have researched a solution, and it is…"
POISON PHRASE / What not to say: "I need new equipment."

4. “I” versus “We”

DON’T: emphasize the word “I.”
Why not?: The word “we” is more inclusive – and when commit to using it, it will focus you more on universal benefits.
DO: use the word “we” when you describe the value whenever possible. ..even if you are the one who will be almost exclusively using it.
POWER PHRASE / What to say: "We could use this in five ways..."
POISON PHRASE / What not to say: "I need new equipment."

5. Time and money savings

DON’T: talk in abstractions.
Why not?: Concrete detailing of benefits is more powerful.
DO: translate the arguments into time and money savings.
POWER PHRASE / What to say: "This will save our department X hours per week which I estimate translates into $Y a year."
POISON PHRASE / What not to say: "It will help me do a better job."

6. Closing the discussion

DON’T: give up too easily, but don’t push past clear resistance either.
Why not?: The average “sale” closes after five attempts, so an early “no” may not be a permanent no. However, if your boss has had time to thoroughly consider your proposal and declines and you keep pushing, it could create bad feeling.
DO: graciously accept your boss’ decision and thank your boss for his/her consideration.
POWER PHRASE / What to say: “If that’s your final answer, I understand. Thanks for considering my proposal.”
POISON PHRASE / What not to say: "I didn’t think you’d go for it."

Use the dos and don’ts to get what you want
There is no guarantee that you’ll get what you want no matter how well you ask for it, but the chances are far better when you ask well. Use the dos and don’ts and up your odds – and write to me to tell you how it went for you.

Bookmark and Share

Reprint/Reuse Policy:
You may use any of these articles in your newsletter, publications, or on your web site. Please:

1. Let us know when and how you are using the article via email:
2. If it is a web posting, please link back to this article by copying the article URL address. Also include a link to the SpeakStrong website,
3. Place Meryl’s tag line at the end of the article with all her contact information. Thanks!

Tag Line:
Meryl Runion and Speak Strong (SpeakStrong) provides Power Phrases (PowerPhrases) and other tools to help you improve communication skills at work and at home. You can read more about her at

Meryl is the author of six books on communication that have sold over a quarter million copies worldwide, including Speak Strong, PowerPhrases!, How to Use PowerPhrases, Perfect Phrases for Managers and Supervisors, and How to Say It: Performance Reviews. You can reach her at 719-684-2633, or by email:

You can also follow Meryl on Twitter: