6 Effective Ways to Say No
Sometimes we have a hard time telling others “no.” Unfortunately, leaving it unsaid can come at your own expense. You lose time to do the things you really want (or need) to do and you can even feel resentful towards the other person and yourself.
Telling others that you can’t acquiesce to their request doesn’t have to be difficult but you can respond with respect and say “no” easily and effectively. (See Secret 5 in 5 Secrets to Instant Collaboration.) If you still struggle with the concept, here are some ideas you can put to use immediately.
- Explain that your other commitments are taking up all your time right now. Everyone is too busy at times; the other person will understand that you have a heavy load of other responsibilities. It might help to go into a little detail about the other things you have going on; it will increase their level of understanding.
- Say that you’re in the middle of something and that you’ll get back to them. It’s not uncommon to get hit with requests for immediate help. You can let them know that you can’t help right now but that you might be able to help soon. If it really is urgent, they’ll find someone else and shouldn’t feel resentful towards you.
- Tell them that you’ll think about it. This is more of a “maybe” than an absolute “no.” Avoid using this option if you really do want to say “no.” Take the time you need to consider it and remember to get back to them. You can suggest your own deadline or an alternative that works for better for you if you can’t comply fully with their first request.
- If someone is trying to sell something to you, tell them that their offering doesn’t meet your needs but you’ll get back to them if your needs change. This puts an end to the matter quickly without the other person feeling insulted. After all, you’re rejecting their product or service; you’re not rejecting them personally.
Remember to only tell the truth. There’s no reason to feel like you’re being dishonest. Be truthful, face any objections head on, and don’t let old fears hold you back. Find out more in 3 Truths to Plow through Tough Times.
If you’ll learn to say “no” to the things that you really don’t want to do, don’t have the time to do, or don’t fit your needs, your life will be much richer for it.
Like many other things in life, it gets easier with practice. After you get used to it, you’ll be surprised how easy it is and how receptive others can be. Now go tell some people “no” and see how much better you feel!