Monday, June 29, 2015

How to Say No More Often

We say yes to requests for many reasons often because we want to help the person making the request, we love or like them, or we are obliged to them in some way. However, we often say yes when we really want to say no.

Yes is easy to say; no is much harder some people--probably most of us! Our tendency is to be polite and kind and to help others. However, we can be so nice, we impair our ability to get things done.

Saying no has consequences. The person making the request may resent us, become angry, or feel hurt. We say no, but feel bad that we have.

How do you say no without negative repercussions?

When someone makes a request, and you're ambivalent about whether or not to say yes, stop and think before you respond.

What will happen if you say yes? 

  • Will it affect your ability to meet your deadlines or deliverables? 
  • Will it add to your stress? 
  • Will it take up your free time?
  • Will the person feel obligated to you in a way that could benefit you later? I once had a participant in one of my time management workshops explain that he said yes to another manager's request even though it meant a lot more work for him because he wanted to work for her department one day. 
What will happen if you say no?
  • Will it harm your relationship with this person?
  • Will it affect other's perception of you? Remember, perception is reality and if people think you are aloof and not a team player, you may have a hard time getting things done.
  • Will you feel guilty?
How to Say No the Right Way

If you decide to say no, be honest and assertive. Say something like, "I can't take that on because [add your reasons]." Some people suggest that you avoid the explanation I recommend giving one since it helps you place the denial in a reasonable context. Saying, "No, I can't do that" makes you seem harsh and cold. Instead saying, "No, I can't do that because I'm juggling three deadlines today" makes the rejection appear appropriate. 

How do you say no? 

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