How To Say No

No

I have the hardest time saying no. Lots of people do. It’s one of those things we do to foil up our lives quite often. Why? Because we hate to disappoint. Because we think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Because we want to say yes and be more positive. There are lots of things that thwart us from saying no.

Personally, I’m an avoider. That’s even worse. Because I don’t do well at just saying, “You know, this isn’t going to work.” But that’s changed. It’s come from some recent changes in my perspective, in my priorities, in my realization of what I’ll have to do to find success (and my definition of success, swiped from Tony Robbins, is that success is making continual improvements in my environment).

Saying no is hard. Here’s my current best advice on saying no. I’d love yours in the comment section.

Say No

First, be very clear and polite. Start with a thank-you.

Thank you for thinking of me. I’m going to have to pass.

The problem with the above is that the person will almost always ask why. Let’s do this, instead.

Thank you for thinking of me. I’m going to have to pass. My workload and priorities are such that I can’t add this project to my schedule.

And Then

My very best advice for next steps is to refer. If ever you can, refer. When I can’t speak at an event due to a schedule problem or something, I do my best to refer the opportunity to someone else. When I can’t review someone’s website, I refer them to Third Tribe Marketing. The more I can help others by sharing the things I can’t help with, the more I can grow a network of people who get more opportunities from my being able to pass them along.

The Pushy Person

Often, you’ll get someone who pushes back. “What do you mean you can’t do it? It’s only 20 minutes.”

This is where I have a hard time. Because they’re right. It is only 20 minutes. The problem is that three of these requests is an hour. 12 of these requests is four hours. They add up really quickly.

My best piece of advice here is to repeat. Again, thank you. It’s great that you feel so passionately about me participating. I am so backed up with other priorities that I just can’t commit to this and deliver you success. I’m very likely to stumble or not complete this. I’d rather say no now than say ‘I’m sorry’ later.

What Should You Say No TO?

My friend, Brian Clark had this great thought on this onstage at PubCon the other week. He said, “I ask whether the project will help my existing community. If not, I really have to consider it.” That’s one way to do it, especially if you’re already working with a focused community. It’s not useful to me because I work across several communities.

Instead, I’ve built little “ecosystem maps” and I ask whether the project will help any part of the larger ecosystem, and then whether I should do it or if I should refer it. Often times, B is the better answer, but sometimes, things can’t be transferred. So, I just look at my map. And whatever I can’t say yes to, I share with others.

And Questions?

How can I help you with this? What else can we talk about? When is it MOST difficult for you to say no?

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  • Dreamlogic

    In personal life just saying ‘no’ is just saying ‘no’ and nothing more.
    Why do you own the other an explanation?

    I do like article, really usefull and good examples. It’s just sometimes I just say ‘no’ and they don’t really need to know why. It isn’t always their business, right?

  • Dreamlogic

    In personal life just saying ‘no’ is just saying ‘no’ and nothing more.
    Why do you own the other an explanation?

    I do like article, really usefull and good examples. It’s just sometimes I just say ‘no’ and they don’t really need to know why. It isn’t always their business, right?

  • http://twitter.com/hbfreelancer Lee Cole

    Part of the problem is whether or not you’re interested in further business with the person (entity) you’re saying no to. If so, then yeah, you have to be diplomatic. If not, then just say “Sorry, can’t do it. It’s not worth my time. Thanks.”

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  • Anonymous

    Of course, none of these strategies work if your boss approaches you while you’re “busy” updating FB, in the middle of a personal phone call or tweeting about how over-worked you are.
    Most bosses have some sort of instinct about how long a piece of work should take (especially since you DO give them regular updates, don’t you) and will quickly mark you as a slacker if you turn down too many “opportunities”, especially if everyone else manages to complete things on time.

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  • http://www.tsmethod.com/blog/ Mark

    Say someone has a perfectly reasonable request that you would normally agree with.
    But they state it in a patronizing manner : “You HAVE to do such and such …”
    So what’s not acceptable here is the patronizing nature of the request.

    How to say no to this in a intelligent, non confrontational way?

    Thanks,

    Mark

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  • Viola LXY

    I have several project work which is supposedly to be a group work. From the first time I did a group work, I was always the leader, and I always did everything. Recently, I have a project work which its dateline is in a week’s time. My friend in my group, when we are discussing, just simply ask me to do all the work. I just don’t know how to say no. If I said no, MAYBE we will do it altogether, but at last, it will also be me to do all the work. I am pretty sure she will push everything for me to do. What should I do when I encounter such situation again?

  • Mark

    “No, it doesn’t fit in my schedule. Maybe later?”

  • GR8DANE MOm

    I am an animal lover and so I have friends that take advantage of this and are constantly asking if I can watch thier animals for a few days while they get somthing sorted I always say Yes because I have a huge property and I feel that I would hope they would say Yes if I asked. but a few days turns in to a week or weeks and then i get overwhelmed and frusterated that I don’t have time to enjoy my own animals HOW do I say NO to these ppl without offending them.

    • Mark

      I should think if they’re friends you explain it to them exactly like that and they will understand if you say only in absolute emergency and for set # max limit of days.
      If they’re not friends you might just say you’d love to, but unfortunately it doesn’t fit in your schedule.

      Mark

  • GR8DANE MOm

    I am an animal lover and so I have friends that take advantage of this and are constantly asking if I can watch thier animals for a few days while they get somthing sorted I always say Yes because I have a huge property and I feel that I would hope they would say Yes if I asked. but a few days turns in to a week or weeks and then i get overwhelmed and frusterated that I don’t have time to enjoy my own animals HOW do I say NO to these ppl without offending them.

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    What a clear, concise, valuable post.
    Nice job with this post.

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  • Mh

     

    Really It
    depends on the request you receive or situation you r on

    on some
    requestes you can not resist but on some others you probably could say &
    simply NO

     

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