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Transcript #35: How to Ask Like an Auctioneer with Dia Bondi

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Episode #35: How to Ask Like an Auctioneer with Dia Bondi

Caneel Joyce:

Welcome back to Allowed. I’m your host, Caneel Joyce. Today, I have in the virtual studio with me, one of my favorite people on the planet, a good friend of mine, a former collaborator, and a total bad-ass. So welcome to the studio, Dia Bondi. I want to tell you guys about Dia and then we’ll have her hop on. For more than 20 years, Dia has been a coach, an inspirer and a trainer. She’s coached world leaders, CEOs, philanthropists, visionaries, innovators, and she helps them to leverage crucial communications moments.

 

Part of her secret sauce is her own audacity, and her own stress in herself and how she just is who she is, and she is it in a big, bold way, which I think you’re going to really enjoy. And this is actually how she helps others wake up to their own superpowers, is awakening their own audacity, teaching them to trust themselves in the biggest way possible so they can grow. She’s helped businesses move forward, she helped Rio de Janeiro win the Olympic bid, and she is a Spartan Racer workout junkie. We can find her at Diabondi.com and asklikeanauctioneer.com.

 

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So I want to tell you a little bit about it. Ask Like An Auctioneer is Dia’s project, launched 2019, aimed at helping a million women ask for more and get it using the mental model, tools and frameworks from the world of auctioneering. Dia is trained as an auctioneer herself. I can’t wait to learn more about this and we are going to start the show. Welcome, Dia.

Dia Bondi:

Hey everybody. Hey, thanks for having me.

Caneel Joyce:

Hey, so great to see you.

Dia Bondi:

Good to see you. Feels like a rare moment.

Caneel Joyce:

I know. Rare, but we’ve kept it up. We met how many years ago? Like four or five years ago.

Dia Bondi:

No I think, I feel like it’s like six. But I could be totally wrong. I just know that it’s hard for us to be in the same place at the same time, and happy when that happens.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah, I’m happy when it happens. And it’s so nice whenever I fly on up, you show up when I invite you, and it’s so great to see you.

Dia Bondi:

I tell people all the time, invite me to things. Just invite me to things.

Caneel Joyce:

And you come.

Dia Bondi:

I do. I try.

Caneel Joyce:

Well, I wanted to just share that the first time I ever laid eyes on you, Dia, it was like a lightening bolt had struck me, and your powerhouse nature was so evident, it changed the whole entire feeling in the room. So I remember we were both contracting at Mozilla at the time, remember?

 

And you entered one day wearing these big, huge dark sunglasses and this really amazing kind of coat, it was like a blanket, it was like a big powerful blanket that you were wearing. And you just had this real ferocity that I just find so attractive, and we quickly found out that we worked really well together and we loved collaborating in the same way and getting scrappy.

Dia Bondi:

Yeah. Not only did we work well together, we worked at hyper speed, which was the thing that was most shocking to me, the first time we sat down to hash something out and try to create something actionable and a framework we could use for something out of just grabbing ideas and naming inputs and just chatting through something. It was shockingly fast how we moved from idea to an actionable framework. I felt in my body like, “Well, we just got to a thing.”

Caneel Joyce:

We don’t want to spend time talking about a thing, we could have a conversation by making the thing. That’s how we do it. So we don’t want to do all the middle steps, we’re startuppy up people. So yeah, I remember that. It was good.

Dia Bondi:

It was good.

Caneel Joyce:

And now, you’re up totally different stuff. I can see because I know you well, I can see how the dots connected from training world leaders how to win the Olympic bid and training all kinds of CEOs and executives how to be great speakers, doing the community building work that we were doing some of, and instructional design at Mozilla. But now, you are an auctioneer.

 

I want you to tell me about before you started Ask Like An Auctioneer, this incredible program to teach women how to ask for more and to get it, what were you noticing in the world out there that was problematic? What were you noticing about how women were or were not asking for things?

Dia Bondi:

It’s actually the opposite, where I was auctioneering and I saw something that I couldn’t see until I started asking like an auctioneer myself. So it wasn’t like I saw a problem and looked for a solution, it was like I was doing this impact hobby, and in doing that, I started to see how differently we ask as auctioneers, as we do in our careers. And in a matter of weeks, went from the idea to actually what it is, and then got actually created in 2019. So it wasn’t like I was scratching my head looking around the world going like, “Here’s what I noticed women do.

 

I wonder how I might solve that?” It was more like, “Whoa.” I was standing up on stage over and over again asking total strangers for money, quite frankly, and in doing that, went like, “Whoa, I hadn’t realized, we’ve been doing this all wrong for years.” And in fact, noticing that I had been co-conspiring with my clients for 15 years leading up to them to have them shape their asks in a way that left money on the table. But I didn’t see that before I started asking differently myself through picking up this totally wild hobby. Does that make sense?

Caneel Joyce:

Yes. It sounds like you were given this, the blue and now that you had it and you could see that there was an alternate reality available, you wanted others to get a taste.

Dia Bondi:

Totally. Which is what the power of Ask Like An Auctioneer actually is. Because once I show an audience the two core ideas that lead to us leaving money on the table, once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And it was like that for me, once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it.

 

And actually, something I didn’t think was a problem, I thought we were doing a good job. Something I didn’t see was a problem until I stood on stage as an auctioneer and did it that way instead.

Caneel Joyce:

And you knew what else was available.

Dia Bondi:

Totally. Well, and I’ve always been so interdisciplinary in my work. I didn’t have an expectation going to auctioneer school, because there is such a thing, and picking up this weird hobby was would actually get melded with my professional work, but it’s inevitable because I’m always so interdisciplinary.

 

I want to know, “What can we take from gymnastics and use, what can we take from literature, brain science, what can we take from fitness? What can we take from all these worlds that actually help us unlock and unblock something?” In the leverage points. That’s really where I work is in the leverage points of somebody’s career.

Caneel Joyce:

Okay. I want to hear about leverage points, and I also want to hear why you decided to go to auctioneering school. So first, even before you went to auctioneering school, you were interested in these moments, these leverage points, these high impact communication opportunities. Can you tell us about, what is a high leverage point?

Dia Bondi:

My communications coaching career has been dedicated to helping people be good in the moments where they can’t afford not to be. And I think of those as like leverage points. They’re the moments where you can go from here to there in a 20-minute talk, you can go from being seen as this to that in seven minutes in front of your all hands at your company. You can go from here to there to be seen as a trusted partner instead of the opposite.

 

So these are leverage points, moments where being masterful can change everything. So that’s what I think of as a leverage point, where it’s an accelerant, a moment that you can accelerate something, a moment where you can really nail something, or I think of it like catalyze it, which is really what I do with my clients. They bring all the ingredients to the table, what I like to do is just catalyze it for them. And what that means by being good in my communications work is really like, how do I help somebody really actually find the courage to speak from the heart when it really matters instead of round the edges?

 

And it doesn’t mean that they’re not careful about how they say the thing that comes from the heart, but that’s step two. First step is like, what is it that you really want to say that comes right from your heart? And how much courage do we need? How do we actually draw courage to make that happen? And then secondly, is to give folks a little bit of a sense of control in these really high-stakes moments so they’re not feeling like it’s being done to them, but in fact that they’re doing it, which really matters when stakes are high.

 

We can all think in our careers of moments when stakes are really high, when we’re desperate for some sense of control in that moment. And then thirdly, it’s all about doing those two things so we can elevate our impact. So that’s really like the landscape of my communications work. And weirdly, no matter what I do, I’m doing those three things. Those show up actually also in Ask Like An Auctioneer, because a crucial ask in our career is a leverage point, can be a leverage point because we know that many of your listeners maybe can look back over their careers and say, “Where have I seen that one courageous ask I made changed everything?”

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. Do you have a story like that?

Dia Bondi:

I do. I don’t know if you want it now or if you want to hear me talk about why I even went to auctioneering school in the beginning.

Caneel Joyce:

I do. I want to hear both of those. Let’s first hear about why you went to auctioneering school, and then we’re going to hear about your own story of big ask.

Dia Bondi:

I have a 12-year-old and I have a nine-year-old. We went to a preschool co-op, which means it’s parent run, it doesn’t have big budget. And like so many schools, we have an annual fundraiser, and that includes the silent auction and the live auction. And I was on the fundraising committee for our preschool co-op and a lot of the mommies and daddies and caregivers in that community aren’t so comfortable on a mic. I, on the other hand, for me it’s like it’s a power source.

 

And so some of the mommies and daddies and caregivers on the fundraising committee said, “Hey, Dia, we need somebody to do the live auction for our upcoming fundraiser. You’re comfortable on a mic, you do it.” And I went, “I don’t know what that is. That’s kind of crazy.” And so I said, “Okay, let’s do it. Big deal.” There was going to be 100 people in the room or something, half of whom I knew. Everyone else was friends and relatives of people in our preschool community. And so I did, and it was a total blast, it was crazy. And months later, I’m at the dinner table with some friends and we’re all talking about stuff we want to do, just bucket list kind of stuff. And I said at the table, “You know what I would do sometime, I would actually learn how to auctioneer. I would be an auctioneer.”

 

Not as a main career, but I would actually want to do that and figure out what that is and be able to say like, “Yeah, I auctioneer, that’s a thing I do.” And my girlfriend who was sitting at the table said, “That’s funny. My dad’s an auctioneer.” And so we ended up having a conversation.

 

She grew up in Montana. He was an engineer in his day job, but also a junk collector and would do auctioneering, not necessarily for what you think of is an auctioneer, which is usually around things like livestock, he did junk sales. What they think of as like dollar boxes and box lots. And so we all laughed it off and put a pin in it. And years go by and I put myself on a working sabbatical, and during that time, I had my office outside of my home, I took gigs as they came in. I worked on some creative collaborations that weren’t official to my career, and just kept low level and really turned my attention inward.

 

And I was like, “This is a perfect time for me to learn something weird and new. What do I want to do? Take an underwater basket weaving class? Do I want to learn how to do open water swimming? What’s the thing that I could do? It doesn’t have to be attached to something, it doesn’t have to be a professional outcome. It can just be Dia learning and growing something and getting outside of her every day.”

 

And my husband said, “Hey, remember that thing you said you’d do? Maybe now’s the time to do it.” And so I jumped on the internet, and it turns out there’s an auctioneering school, there’s a handful of them. And so I packed my bags and I went to St. Louis and me and 100 cowboys spent 10 days on Route 66 learning how to auctioneer things.”

Caneel Joyce:

Whoa. Amazing. Did you know what he was talking about when he said, “Remember that thing?”

Dia Bondi:

Oh yeah. So when I was there it was like, “What am I doing here?” Because it’s one thing to go to auctioneer school, it’s another thing to actually do the auctioneering. So I’m like, “Where am I going to do this? Am I going to go sell heavy equipment for fun? Am I going to do estate sales?” In California, we don’t have a lot of live auction estate sales like they do in the Midwest. “What am I doing with this?” And I realized working with women has been really important part of my work and actually a rare moment.

 

At the most senior levels of my career, the last 10 or 15 years, it’s a handful of women I could count them on one hand at the most senior levels that I’ve had a chance to work with, and that’s changing, the last five years, that’s changing. But in the world of global sport, a handful of women, mostly men on the big committees. And the executive suite, it’s more rare moment.

 

So I was like, “You know what I’m going to do with this? I’m going to go home and I’m going to do auctions. I’m going to do fundraising auctions for women-led nonprofits and nonprofits that benefit women and girls.” Because if you are a woman who is a biologist running a nonprofit that is studying the micro environments in the wetlands in the Sacramento Valley, I want you to be successful. I want women to be successful and to be visible.

 

And so if it helps that you have another 100 grand in your hand because I courageously asked on your behalf, get your fundraiser, and that means you can be more successful, I want to be the person to help you ask for that. How fun for me? How wonderful for me? And if you’re a dude running a program that is benefiting women and girls. Okay, great.

 

I want to help you make that ask. And it makes sense in terms of an alignment perspective, it makes sense to me in the world that if I’m doing a fundraiser for Girls Inc or for Dress For Success, both my clients here in San Francisco actually, that you have a woman standing up and talking about why these things matter. So I only now take on gigs that are actually values aligned around those two things.

Caneel Joyce:

Amazing. Yeah. This podcast was created, we have a mission to address three really important causes that are very important to me. First one is reversing climate change. Second one is supporting women and girls. And the third one is equalizing and democratizing access to creative and entrepreneurial activity. And the women and girls thing and the entrepreneurship angle, both of those directly impact climate change. They’re the biggest levers. So I am all about this, sister.

Dia Bondi:

By the way, historically I think women have been major movement makers in the area of environmental impact or reducing environmental impact.

Caneel Joyce:

When you invest in women, it pays off for everyone.

Dia Bondi:

100%. So that’s what I’ve done for the last couple of years. And that led to Ask Like An Auctioneer because like I said, I was standing up here doing this thing in a certain way that auctioneer’s do it, I was doing the asks like auctioneer’s do it. And that it was looking back over my shoulder at my career going, “Holy mackerel, if everybody could do this way, but over there in the world of entrepreneurship and driving their careers and asking to resource their projects, and asking in this way to resource their dreams, whoa, we would be able to maximize the opportunity, the ask opportunity that everyone has in a way that we’re not doing now, so wouldn’t it be interesting if I could pull this and let women be auctioneers just for a day?

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all these women that I work, I’m a CEO activator, I help women all the time with their pitches, particularly in the entrepreneurial space.” There’s a lot of young women tapping me, wanting help to tell the story when they go into negotiate their promotion, blah, blah, blah. All in the vein of communications. But at the seat of a crucial communications’ moment, usually there’s an ask. That is the why of the story we’re telling. The thing that moves us forward is an ask. You’re not just telling a story to entertain people, you need to move something forward.

 

So I was like, “Wouldn’t it be great if all women had a chance to just put on a great gown and hold onto a big mic and have a bunch of people say yes to them and to push the envelope in a way that we do as auctioneer’s that we don’t do in business? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all women had a chance to Ask Like An Auctioneer?” And literally breath got taken out of my body. I flipped on my light, I was falling asleep one night when I thought it, and I wrote down Ask Like An Auctioneer on a little pad next to my bed. And I held it on my heart for a couple of months until I couldn’t hold it in my heart anymore, and now it’s a full-blown project.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh girl.

Dia Bondi:

And it’s crazy. Women are doubling their salaries. I had a woman send me a note not long ago who said she’d been an engineering manager for 25 years, and using the frameworks from Ask Like An Auctioneer, the two core ideas and then the courage-making frameworks to help you make courageous asks, she asked and got the biggest raise she’d ever had in her career. And she’s 25 years into engineering.

Caneel Joyce:

Wow.

Dia Bondi:

I am having women land new jobs they didn’t think they could get, they’re mentorship and sponsorship they didn’t think that they could ever dare to ask for. And it’s just, women are being more honest about what they want, which is awesome.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. Well, I’m curious now that you have this skillset, where do women go wrong? Where do all of us go wrong? How is it that we’re not asking like an auctioneer? What does that look like?

Dia Bondi:

We ask, we frame asks to try to guarantee getting a yes.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, because we fear the no. Can we make the no means something? I’m guessing.

Dia Bondi:

As an auctioneer, we don’t do that, we actually aim for a no and we can’t sell anything until we get a no because that tells us we’ve hit the ceiling. But in business what we do is, when I ask people, “What are you asking for?” They’ll say, “What do you think I can get?” And for the last 15 years, I’ve been saying, “Yeah. Yeah. What do we think we can get? Let’s say that.” “10 heads to build this new engineering management team or maybe six?” “No, they’ll never say yes to six.” “Okay, four? How about four and we’ll borrow two for another group?” “Okay, four plus two.” “Great. Let’s do that. Let’s ask for that.”

 

And they get an instant, yes. And what do we say? “Oh yay, I did such a great job. I got a yes.” But maybe you could’ve asked for 10 and gotten eight.

 

So where we go wrong is we ask in order to get a yes, and the gap between getting an instant yes and what we would have asked for that threatened to no, and then either gotten it or negotiated down is inevitably higher than the yes that we aimed for in the first place. That’s something I didn’t see until I started auctioneering.

Caneel Joyce:

If I’m, if I’m only ever asking in a way that is intended to guarantee a yes, I’m imagining I probably don’t even know what I want.

Dia Bondi:

Yeah, you do. Yeah, you do. Sure you know. You want a yes, that’s what you want.

Caneel Joyce:

Right, totally.

Dia Bondi:

So I’m asking everyone, not just women, because this stuff is actually across the board. I have two right now, Ask Like An Auctioneer have two offerings. It’s a keynote, it’s 45 minutes plus Q&A, and it’s also a two hour or half day workshop called Your Most Powerful Ask Live.

 

And I’ve done them with mixed audiences. And women are not the only one who suffer hand wringing when we go to shape and ask, I do. I have to formulate an ask and then I have to go, “Okay, dear. Is that an ask that feels good because I think I’m going to get a yes, or is that an ask that threatens a no? And which one are you going to pick, dear?”

Caneel Joyce:

And where do you find the courage to go for the no?

Dia Bondi:

I find the courage and everyone can find the courage to go for the no by using the mental model and frameworks we use in auctioneering. The thing that makes me say, “Dia, are you going to ask one more time or not? Are you going to go out on a limb or not?” And to put a stake in the ground and just go one click past what you think is polite or not. It doesn’t mean I’m not polite. So we draw from that, but that all comes from the a couple of things. One is, you find the courage by doing that by stopping expecting yourself to feel good when you make a courageous ask.

Caneel Joyce:

How will I feel instead?

Dia Bondi:

Like you want to throw up, maybe like your stomach’s turning over upside down a little bit, maybe you got a little sweaty hands, maybe you got a little voice in the back of your head that says, “How dare you?”

Caneel Joyce:

Who do you think you are?

Dia Bondi:

So that’s first, you invite that, you go, “Yep. Oop! That voice is showing up, that means I’m right squarely in a place that usually makes us not go there.” So the idea here is that the reason we don’t go for a no, the reason we don’t shape asks that threaten a no and instead go for a yes is because the nos and every increment between the absolute no and the yes you’d originally ask for if you feel good enough to ask for, everything in there, it lives in what I call the zone of freaking out.

 

So how you find the courage is you accept that the ask I’m going to make that’s going to maximize its return is going to live in my zone of freaking out. Okay, let’s go, put on your boots, get your umbrella, get your chap stick and step on in there. And don’t expect it to feel anything except funky, freaky, roundup, whatever the thing is. So we have to uncouple the feeling cozy with the like, “That’s a good ask.” Secondly, we have to reread that feeling we get as a sign you’re doing something courageous, not as a sign you’re doing something wrong.

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah, that’s a big one.

Dia Bondi:

But how do I actually do it? How do I, as a 26-year-old, content editor at a large tech company, in a marketing function, look for a new job, and when they ask how much salary I’m looking for, how do I actually get it out of my mouth to say instead I’m looking for $120,000 a year, instead say, “I’m looking for 165.” How do you actually say it? And there’s about six things we can use to help us do that.

Caneel Joyce:

Okay. So there are specific tools that I can use to help me make that bigger ask, which is so, so important to make the big ask. I’m connecting this with, I did some teaching of negotiations when I was professoring at the London School of Economics, and one of the pieces of research that really motivated me to get into that field is that our income, our salary, just tends to be directly related to the salary we had before it. So every time you miss an opportunity to ask for more, that compounds on itself over time. Being a little more comfortable in this one conversation means that three jobs down the road, I’m making $100,000 thousand less.

Dia Bondi:

It can have an exponential impact, which is exactly why in my communications coaching work, I’ve been focused on VP level and above as a strike point for the organization and for their business. Well, I want to make sure that the leader is speaking from his or her heart in a way that is courageous and aligned to their leadership and make sense to them and to their business and to where they’re going in their business. Great.

 

But Ask Like An Auctioneer is actually aimed at women and underrepresented folks in their industries, where I really want to have the impact is in the first five to seven years of their career. It doesn’t mean it’s not relevant at other stages, it’s relevant across the board, but it’s powerful in those early days because if women have access to these tools when they’re 26 and they can deploy them over the course of their career, it will have an exponential impact on their visibility, influence, income, decision making, power, autonomy, whatever the hell they want.

Caneel Joyce:

Yes, for sure. Can you teach our listeners one of these tools? Do you have something to offer that we could go with, I would like to learn how to do this.

Dia Bondi:

You want the craziest one?

Caneel Joyce:

Yeah. You know I like that one.

Dia Bondi:

It’s really easy, and your people will argue, but I see it play out hundred thousand times over in auctioneering, and it’s actually useful, whether it’s true or not, if it helps you step into your zone of freaking out and make the bigger ask instead of not than yay. And that is that people are irrational. You don’t know what they’re going to say yes or no to, and your rationale for what they’ll say yes or no to isn’t anything to do with what their rationale is about what they’ll say yes or no to. And what they think they might say yes or no to because there is a rationale around it, might actually be directly opposite to what they end up saying yes or no to

Caneel Joyce:

What do I do with that? I believe you.

Dia Bondi:

If you believe people are irrational, then why are you low balling yourself and aiming for a yes. If you trust people are fairly irrational and you don’t have to decide what to say yes or no to, maybe that’ll help you ask for the bigger number and just see what people will say, because we don’t know what they’re going to say.

 

Yes, they’re going to pay $55,000 for a one night camping trip or they’re going to buy a street valued piece of art that’s usually would normally go at a bigger context for $12,000, somebody says yes at four but nobody will say yes at 4,500. If you look at those two things, I’d say, well, the rational thing is that everyone would spend $12,000 on the piece of art that on the street would probably go for 12,000, is valued at 12,000, and the one night camping trip would go for $300. But nope, the one night camping trip goes for $55,000 and the $12,000 piece of art goes for $4,500.

Caneel Joyce:

What’s fun about giving a yes, when you are a great auctioneer and you’ve asked for a big number and there’s someone out there in that audience that for some reason decides that tonight’s the night that they were going to say yes and they’re going to buy it. I just want to understand what’s going on in that person’s brain that makes them say yes and what is it like for them? I’m imagining there’s a thrill to it of some kind, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

Dia Bondi:

Well, for one, I don’t know and I don’t actually care. Did you get a yes or not? Not to say it’s not an interesting question, it’s just I’m all about [inaudible 00:27:00], did you get it or did you not? Did you get more than you thought you would have if you had asked for the 125,000 because you found the courage, you said, “Yeah, people are irrational. Let’s see, I’m going to ask for 165, I landed at 145, I got 20 grand more than I thought I would.” Did you get it or did you not?

 

That’s what matters. Now, what the yes looks like in auctioneering, sometimes it looks like quiet delight, sometimes it looks like somebody winning something saying, “Yes, I will pay $55,000 for me and 11 of my friends to go camping for one night.” There are an incredible amount of fist bumps around that. But here’s the saying, that’s not happening in business.

 

You’re not that 26-year-old engineering manager or content editor asking for a bigger salary and when you get a yes, the person that gave you a yes is fist bumping. Maybe they are, maybe they’re an awesome recruiter and will be so delighted to say yes to you, but the antiques don’t look the same as they do in an auction context. But I will say that when people can say yes to you honestly, and they do, my suspicion is that is not only an adrenaline hit for them, but it’s a way for them to action their own values as well.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, love it. And I see why you answered initially the way that you did, because if I get too hung up on why they might say yes and try to get too much into that head space, I can easily talk myself out of making the big ask.

Dia Bondi:

Right. Because in auctioneering, I don’t sit around and go, “I wonder what you guys might say. What should I ask for next? I’m not totally sure. Well, if that person thinks this, then I should ask this and I don’t have time. I have to say $4,500 but are looking for a $5,000 bid right now. Anyone at 5,000? If I don’t have anybody at 5,000, I’m going to maybe ask. I’m still at 4,500 and I’ll give her a 5,000, maybe I get a 5,000 right there.” What I’m wanting to say to everybody is, shut up and ask.

Caneel Joyce:

Okay. All right, so I’m hearing there’s, “I’m going to make the big asks. I’m going to ask for what I want, not what I think you’ll say yes to. I might feel really uncomfortable as I make that ask… “

Dia Bondi:

Yep, like that.

Caneel Joyce:

And in fact, that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for that zone of, I’m out of the zone of familiarity now. Now, I’m in that place of-

Dia Bondi:

Freaking out.

Caneel Joyce:

I’m actually addressing my own self-limiting beliefs and behaviors.

Dia Bondi:

Yes.

Caneel Joyce:

And if I’m not addressing those, I walk away and maybe I got the yes, but I didn’t become a better person in the meantime.

Dia Bondi:

What? You didn’t get more.

Caneel Joyce:

And I didn’t get more.

Dia Bondi:

I don’t know if it makes us a better person or not to get more, but if you ask for more and you get more, you get more of what you want, because mostly the most critical asks we make are the kinds of asks that bring us closer to our goals.

Caneel Joyce:

All right. So you said that you had a story of a big ask that you made in your life.

Dia Bondi:

Yes.

Caneel Joyce:

I want to hear that story.

Dia Bondi:

What’s very interesting is I was talking to my husband and I was like, “God, it’s so crazy that I’m doing this thing. I was his communications person for so long and now I’m doing this other thing and it’s just seems like it’s such a departure. And he’s like, “No, it’s not. You’ve been helping people craft stories that always start with, ‘what do you want from your audience?’ So that’s not so off.” Secondly, he’s like, “You’ve been doing this whether you know it or not for a long time.” He’s like, “Remember that time you asked Brad that thing?”

 

And I was like, “Yes.” So when I was done with college, I was looking for my career and all of it made me want to throw up, but not in ZOFO way, not in a zone of freaking out, good, courageous way, in a way of like, “I cannot sit on the 20th floor of this building in San Francisco and monitor bank consolidations as an analyst for six years and work my way into a job that I can actually live in my skin around.” I couldn’t do that. I needed to shrink the distance between where I am right now, where I want to be exponentially.

Caneel Joyce:

How do I get there now kind of thing.

Dia Bondi:

Yes. So I thrashed around and spent a chunk of time figuring out what it was that I wanted to do like “What is the thing that I could get paid for and be in a professional context that feels important, that feels aligned to my who I am, that actually embraces my punk rock bigger than life personality and doesn’t have that be a liability, but instead an asset? How do I get to travel on someone else’s nickel? How do I get to help people be more embodied in their own skin? How do I also get to do all that stuff without it being relegated to some retreat in a tree house in Mexico where we’re all sitting around and self-improving ourselves?”

 

No, I wanted to actually have that the rubber meets the road context of business where it had an immediate impact on whether people could move forward or not. I looked around and ended up through word of mouth, learning about the communications work I’ve been doing now for 20 years, and I went to watch someone do that work. Someone who had already been doing it for many years and someone who potentially could be the person that unlocked it all for me. And I went and watched him teach, and it was an event that happened at Intel Corporation, 26 finance managers.

 

They were all kind of director level, but at that time, also the person that was CFO of Intel at that time. So you can imagine the power dynamics playing out in the room, and it was a public speaking workshop. So that’s loaded for a lot of folks, so I watched this class play out and I had never seen something that I wanted to do so bad. I felt so compelled by it, I felt like, “If I don’t do this work, I’m going to die. I want to be that person at the front of the room. I want to be him teaching the class. I can do this. I don’t know how to do it, but I know that I can do it.” So I was done with the day, I said, “Thank you so much for letting me come see you work.”

 

And he said, “Great. Let’s talk again soon.” Weeks go by, and I knew I had to make the ask. I knew I needed to make an ask that could move me toward doing this work really fast, and the ask wasn’t small. The ask I ended up having to make was, “Will you teach me?” It wasn’t, “Will you hire me? Will you pay me to do this? Will you show me how.” It was literally, “Will you teach me?” Because in that, it was a powerful ask because in that, there was honesty about me needing to be a student and me accepting my role in that ask was to be a student.

Dia Bondi:

And so I made that ask and he said, “Sure thing.” And he sent me the contract and in a week, I was in New York.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh wow. That’s amazing. And he knew, he knew somehow to teach you?

Dia Bondi:

Well, let’s just say that, I said to him before I made the ask, “This work is so compelling to me and I can see myself in the front of the room doing exactly as you’re doing. And it’s so compelling that this is where I want to go and I need my big break and it’s going to come from you or it’s going to come from someone else. And so my question to you is, “Will you teach me what you do?'”

Caneel Joyce:

That’s good.

Dia Bondi:

Since then, I got to do a lot of great stuff.

Caneel Joyce:

Interestingly, my big ask, the one that changed my life was also, “Will you teach me?”

Dia Bondi:

Wow. Who?

Caneel Joyce:

This was professor at Berkeley, at the Haas School of Business, Jennifer Chatman, who is one of the world’s experts in organizational culture, which was what I really, really wanted to study. I actually tried to get into anthropology and I told them I wanted to study the anthropology of business and they said, “We don’t do that here.” I said, “Okay, I’ll go over to that fancy business school.” It worked out well. But I knew that I wasn’t going to just get into this program, I didn’t have any research experience.

 

I wasn’t in a lab when I was in college, I had never even taken calculus. So how was I going to be one of the 3% who applied and got into this PhD program? And I said to myself, “What would Roy do? Which W-W-R-D is actually an acronym that my friends use about my husband, Roy, because he is… It’d be great for him to take your course. He’s one of the best sales people I’ve ever known, he doesn’t take no for an answer. He’s got a million tricks up his sleeve about how he does that, he’s very audacious in his asks. He’s always got-

Dia Bondi:

It doesn’t sounds at all like he needs to take my class.

Caneel Joyce:

Oh, and maybe make me be your junior teacher. So I just thought, “What would he do?” Well, he would go and he’d bang down that person’s door and he wouldn’t take no for an answer, and he’d say, “Let me be a research assistant, I want to learn from you.” And so that’s what I did, and I was already managing a whole entire marketing department at a startup, I was 25-years old, but I went in there and then I was sitting next to 18, 19-year olds helping to do this research part, but I just wouldn’t take no. And she said, “I don’t talk to students without an appointment. I don’t take on extra research assistants, you’d have to be a student, dah, dah, dah.” And I’m like, “No, I’m doing this.”

 

And I wouldn’t leave.

 

And I got in.

 

And then that really changed my life in a big way. And on this show before, I have complained about being in that program, and it is true, it was the hardest thing I ever went through in my life, but I finally have those. It was like you, Dia, I didn’t want to climb up this very long, slow ladder that looked to me like most people never make it, I wanted like, “How do I get myself really credible so that I can be talking to the highest leverage people as fast as possible.” It took longer than I thought, but I feel like I’m here.

Dia Bondi:

When we go to make our asks, we have to remind ourselves that there is an offer within it. I offer my talent, my attention, my commitment.

Caneel Joyce:

I will spread your intellectual seed.

Dia Bondi:

Whatever. And that’s one of the courage making tools you can do is when you go to craft and ask to remind yourself, what is your offer inside of it?

Caneel Joyce:

So good. So good, Dia. Dia, I’m sure that our listeners are beginning to think about areas where they have not made a big ask and they want to or where they could have asked bigger or maybe they’re realizing they’ve never ever even had a no.

Dia Bondi:

Most of the time I hear people that say, “Oh my gosh, now I don’t have any problem asking.” I’m like, “Yeah, you get yeses all the time, right?” And they’re like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “Getting all kinds of yeses, leave all kinds of money on the table.”

Caneel Joyce:

Mm-hmm. What can our listeners do if they want to get started and begin learning this. I understand you might have a book in the works.

Dia Bondi:

I think it is. So the couple of things, one is, if your listeners run DNI programs, if they’re event meeting planners and they’re looking for this kind of content that can really accelerate their audience’s goals and can be the thing that makes somebody say, “This conference was worth it to me.” Or, “This was the best we’ve had,” I’m going to be bold and say, you can reach out to me and book the keynote or the two hour workshop. And I’m so happy to come to organizations and events to bring this kind of content to audiences as far and wide.

 

So you can reach out to me and find me at dia@diabondi.com. You can also just go to the website, diabondi.com and you can find your way to Ask Like An Auctioneer from there. For folks who are listening and are interested in using this in their own lives, you can get on my mailing list by texting the word Impact to the number 66866 or just going to asklikeanauctioneer.com, or to diobandi.com, and jump on the mailing list there because there’s two things. One is, when the book gets done and released, you’ll have early access to that and to everything that goes with it.

 

And secondly, I don’t do any one-on-one coaching around this ask work. However, periodically, I will to folks who are on my mailing list, send out a batch of what I call jumpstart sessions, which are 30 minute sessions where we’ll jump on a call one-on-one to jumpstart the next big ask you might have in your career or to figure out, what is an ask you’re not seeing that you could make to help you reach your goals faster? I will do 10 to 12, maybe every quarter. Those go out on my mailing list, so if you want access to that, you can get on my list. I don’t send more than a monthly newsletter and then the announcements for the jumpstart session, so it’s fairly un-spamy. And I really hope to bring folks stuff they can actually use every day in their careers, both for my communications work as well as for project: Ask Like an Auctioneer.

Caneel Joyce:

Amazing. Thank you for offering that to our audience, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of people going to diobandi.com, I know that I am there and I can’t wait when your book does come out, that’s going to be incredible. I would really encourage listeners to do this. The time I’ve spent with Dia has always dramatically changed my life.

 

And I didn’t mention many times that you’ve coached me through making asks and giving talks and communicating. And just a very, very empowering person, I’m so grateful that you spent time with us today. So listeners, please take advantage of this offer, it’s amazing. Dia, you’re the bomb, big fist bump to you.

 

If you guys want to Dia back on the show, please leave us a note in an iTunes review. If you have not yet subscribed, please hit subscribe right now in your podcast player and we’ll see you next week. Thank you for showing up for yourself. Bye-bye.

 

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