The Art Of Saying No

It is common in today days of the connected world, for you to have received many requests by various people. There are requests concerning you to read or write something, to check a problem, to provide a solution, to attend an event, etc. If you commit yourself at accommodating all these requests soon you would find yourself drifted away from your original plans, and burned out! That’s why you should learn how to saying no in a convincing and polite way!

The Art Of Saying No

No Means Respect!

It is imperative today to have a way to say No, because, otherwise the objectives and the priorities of other people would crowded your time.

No is a gatekeeper between your objectives and the intentions of the other people. It is not always easy to say no, but it is imperative you to become better at it, because otherwise, you would transform from a self-directed agent to the other people mood’s dependent person!

No means respect. Respect for yourself, your dreams, your goals, your business, your work and your time. If you try to please everyone, soon you find yourself to have:

  • No personal and business objectives to follow, since you would be unable to direct your resources towards their achievement, due to the satisfaction of all the commitments you have assumed by third parties
  • No free resources to commit to the advancement of your true objectives
  • No energy to cope with all the necessary demands of the modern life
  • No free time to spend for yourself and your family
  • No committed and focused activities, since you would divide your attention among various, different and incoherent tasks, dictated by other people

No is also a sign of respect towards the people ask you to do something! Why? Because it signifies that your know your personal boundaries, you are aware of the available resources and at the given conditions you cannot provide them with your usual quality services and the professionalism you want to be known to perform!

How To Say No, Politely

Of course is not easy to say No. And definitely, your are not a negative person! You just want to safeguard yourself and your time from uncontrollable requests derived

But it is important! You should just find a way to use the no clause creatively, clearly, purposefully, and most of all, politely!

How would you do that? There are various strategies around.

Here some, thoughts (and practices), you can use in trying to avoid to overload your time with unnecessary, to your objectives, commitments:

  • Do not answer at the same movement, the request is made. Do not answer yes, not even no. Take your time, research the request, understand exactly what is expected from you, ask for time to check your other priorities and return to the requester with a clear answer to his/her request. Reassure you would offer a justification make sense to the other party and does not offend him/her!
  • Do not say no, without a reason! State your plans and intentions towards the asking party, clarifying your current priorities and why you should not involved in third-party endeavors! Do not provide excuses or too many reasons. Just be clear, firm and polite (you can offer the requester with a solution beyond yourself, or an alternative implementation plan!)
  • Express your working agenda and your limitations in a way that would not insult the other party. You can use any rational, but do not use flimsy excuses (too much work, not time available, and such). Be confident providing your point of view on why you cannot assume the task (for example I’m afraid that during this period it is quite impossible to assume the proposed task, since I’m actively involved at the implementation of [project X, new business, development of a new service/product, etc]), state it clearly in terms the other person can understand and if possible furnish him/her an alternative solution for the problem.
  • Finally, apologize for not having the capability (time, energy, resources, etc) of assisting with his/her task, but be firm on your decision to not committed in its implementation (if that is really your decision)!

These are only some of the ways you can use for saying, NO, and of course there are several. Style and deliverance, sometimes make all the difference! It is not always what you said, but how you said it what makes the difference!

Don’t forget practice make it perfect!

Question: Do you keep your commitments to yourself, or not? Do you safeguard your boundaries? Do you say no often or not at all? Please comment on The art of saying no!

    e-Business | e-Learning Consultant

    Takis Athanassiou is a Business Consultant, Author, and Trainer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, marketing, e-Learning, social media, and personal growth. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, listen to Leadership Execution podcast, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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