A colleague of mine was walking with his six-year-old son, and before they crossed the street, he asked his boy, “Do you want to hold hands?” His son said, “No.” His father replied, “Please hold my hand,” and his son gave him his hand.
This story illustrates a little-known yet powerful communication approach that I teach in my seminars.
Using a direct assertive statement (“Please hold my hand”) states what you want, and as result, you are more likely to get it. You have been clear and direct.
Using a question (“Do you want to hold hands?”), which is a softer way of expressing yourself, lets the other person make the choice, and you may not get what you want. You are being less direct.