Oh, No! I Have To Say “NO”
Many people have a really hard time saying “no.” Unfortunately for those that do, there will be times when you must. Choose the kind of “no” that best suits the person and situation.
Be firm and calm with your “no,” and do not say, “I’m sorry.”
Provide a clear explanation after saying no, such as:
- “That makes me uncomfortable.”
- “I’d rather not do that.”
- “I’m unwilling to do this.”
- “I dislike that suggestion.”
Then, give an alternative choice.
- “I am unable to help immediately, but I could assist in an hour or so.”
- “I am busy today, but I can available sometime early tomorrow.”
Clarify your reasoning. Don’t be lengthy or fill up your reason with excuses or rationalizations. It’s enough that you are not saying “yes.” You give the clarification to provide more information to the person you are speaking with so that they better understand your position.
Use your natural way to say no. You may have developed your own style of saying “no” based on your past experience and personality. If so, use it.
Empathize with the request by acknowledging the request, and then say “no.” For example, say “I understand that an assistant of mine completes your report. I’d like to provide a staff member, but we’re currently very busy for the rest of the day.”
Say yes, and then give your reasons for not doing it the way it was requested or for using the alternate idea. This approach is very interesting. You may want to use it in situations when you are willing to meet the request, but not at the time or in the way the other person wants it.
- “I’ll definitely help you, but I have to wait until tomorrow.”
- “I’ll type a portion of your report, but not everything.”
- “I like your second alternative, but not your third.”
Use the persistent response. Being persistent also helps. Use a simple sentence as your refusal statement and repeat it, regardless of what the person says. This technique helps you deal with aggressive or manipulative people. It also allows you to be assertive and confident and helps temper any aggression in the conversation. It also puts you in control of your emotions.
Choose a one-sentence statement and repeat it regardless of the other person’s response, such as:
- “I hear what you’re saying, but I am unwilling …”
- “I am uninterested…”
- “I’d rather not…”
- “That makes me uncomfortable…”
- Or, “Maybe you’re right, but I’m still not interested.”
After each statement the other person makes, say your persistent response sentence. It’s important not to let the other person sidetrack with any other issue they may bring up.
Saying “no” doesn’t always come naturally. Follow these guidelines to make it easier the next time you need to say ”no.”