Three simple ways to say no
For some people, saying no is one of the most difficult things to do, and can lead to over work and feeling put down or put upon.
Here are three simple ways for you to say no. Don’t just pick one and keep using it. Use whichever is right for the situations you are in.
1. “No!” “No, I can’t.” “I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try X?”
Let’s face it; this is the simplest and most direct way to say no. Sometimes we try to avoid saying no so much that we confuse the person we are speaking to. Often we avoid it as we don’t want to seem rude, but think about it. Would you prefer someone to say a clear no to you or beat around the bush so you are left unsure either way?
The latter example is a no with a helpful referral at the same time. Use this one with caution though. Make sure you are sending them to the best person otherwise they’ll probably be right back to you and even more annoyed.
2. “Now’s not a good time. How about we talk at/on X?” “I can definitely do that for you and X would be the best time for me.” “Give me some time to think about it. I’ll get back to you at/on...”
This is a great way of saying no without saying no. In essence it’s a deflection and done in an assertive way. It’s no nonsense and very clear about the outcome. Which form you choose is down to you and how positive you want to be.
The latter is another way of saying you don’t have time right now, but that you are prepared to spend some time on it. People are very good at dropping things on us at the last minute and expect an instant reply. However buying yourself some thinking time then allows you space to do some research and get your head together.
One key point here is to make sure you are clear on the when. Don’t leave it open such as “I’ll get back to you when I can.” This leaves it open for the person to keep coming back to you and asking again. Be clear and metaphorically close the door.
3. “This isn’t something I want right now. I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.”
This one is especially for those cold callers whether on the phone or on the doorstep. The key here is to say it firmly, with no hesitation and then don’t leave it open for the person to start a conversation. Say it and then shut the door/close the phone call.
A final point is: stop apologising. Often people will start many of the above with “I’m sorry” or “I’m sorry but”. Apologising puts you in a weaker position and can be perceived as being unsure and so open to being persuaded otherwise. If you aren’t at fault why are you apologising? You don’t need to feel assertive, you only need them to think you are assertive.
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Karen Hayns MSc - Future PerfectSeptember 11th, 2017