An opportunity for advocating for yourself by speaking
up occurs every time you begin a new relationship with
any type of salesperson, an attorney, a mechanic, or a

Let's look at each of the above examples:
The Salesperson
How many of you have felt pressure from a salesperson?
It seems to happen most when you are looking at large
appliances such as washer/dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators. And of course, it happens when you are attempting to purchase a car.

Plan the limits you will set ahead of the visit to the
store or the car lot. Sometimes it helps to speak to
the salesperson before he/she speaks to you. As the
salesperson approaches, you *smile* and say, "I'm just

If the salesperson says, "Let me show you the best
features of this xxxxxxxx," then you can say, "I'd like
to know about the best features, but then I want some
time to look around by myself. I'm only looking and
don't plan to buy anything today."

And then you *smile* again, genuinely.

The attorney

Every attorney with whom I have met has a vast amount of
knowledge about how I should be protecting myself in my
life. However, I can get overwhelmed by the possibilities
of decisions to be made that were not on my agenda.

One of the difficulties of visiting an attorney is that
often he/she has important information about other legal
issues you may need to take care of, other than the one
for which the appointment is made.

A proactive way to approach the attorney is to *smile*
at the beginning of the appointment and say,

"I really appreciate all the ways you look out for me.
I know your suggestions are usually ones I want to
consider. However, today I would like to focus only on
my will. If you have other areas in which you think you
can be of help to me, I'll write them down here on this
pad of paper and I can then make a later appointment to
focus on them one at a time."

And then you *smile* again, genuinely

The mechanic

When I take my car in for an oil change, the quick
change place I go to is frequently interested in selling
me more than the basic oil change. After I learned this,
now I don't even allow them to start their speech to convince me.

As the salesperson approaches me with his/her head
shaking, saying, "Ma'am, you should let us do the super
luxurious deluxe oil change."

I try to hear him as if he were simply making noise.
I *smile* and say, "All I need today is the basic oil

Usually he/she has evidence to support what I should do
to my car - a fluid stick with a certain color that means
nothing to me, an air filter that has varying degrees of
darkness in different areas. I don't know enough for
any of it to mean anything to me, so occasionally I may
actually need what the mechanic is pushing.

However, if I am clear that my budget today only supports
an oil change, then I continue to *smile* and say, "All
I need today is the basic oil change." If holding the line
would be difficult for you, maybe you need a coach to help
you accomplish this limit setting.

(I also make a mental note to check with my car dealer to
see if what the mechanic is suggesting is something I
should do in the future.)

Again you *smile*, genuinely.

The physician

On the first visit to a new physician, we each have a
wonderful opportunity to state directly what we are needing. I try to consider exactly what would make me comfortable in the doctor's office.

One of my coaching clients does not want to be pressured
about weight. She explained on the first visit that she
would prefer to weigh facing away from the numbers on the scale. She also requested that her weight not be mentioned unless her health were in some way threatened.

Another of my clients asked the physician on her first
visit if he would please explain his findings after she was
fully dressed. She felt demeaned to talk to the doctor about her health while sitting naked under the paper
gown on an examining table.

Both of these are examples of advocating for yourself
with a physician. Although it works best if you advocate
in the first visit, if you are uncomfortable about something in the way your doctor's visits are handled, there is no time like the present to bring it up with
your physician.

Again as you make these requests, you *smile* genuinely.

Speaking up to your salesperson, your attorney, your
mechanic or your physician are all self-advocating skills.
A coach can help you learn to advocate for yourself.

Author's Bio: 

Linda D Tillman, PhD is a professional coach and clinical psychologist in practice in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a website at and publishes a free monthly newsletter. You can

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