Saying “no” is not easy. It is much easier just to say “yes” most of the time. We sometimes say yes to avoid disappointing or hurting someone we care about. We say yes because we want to be liked, valued and have a desire for others to count on us. We say yes out of guilt and want to prove to everyone, including ourselves, that we can handle it all. Saying no is difficult.
This powerful little word can have a huge impact!
Saying “no” correctly and at the right moment is one of the most important aspects of your leadership. Saying no will reveal what you truly value and think to be a priority. A no sets boundaries. By saying no, you essentially set up the opportunity for the best yes.
Saying no is protection. Think of saying no as a wall around your city. Your city holds what is most precious to you, and you must protect what is on the inside. You need to be selective with what you allow in. Make every yes, a conscious choice for what is allowed in your city.
Furthermore, a “no” to someone will reveal their true intentions. Say no to a friend or boss and see their reaction. Do they care about you as a person or do they erupt in disapproval to your “no” with a selfish rebuttal? Are you a means to an end? On the flipside, maybe they completely understand and ask follow-up questions about you and the reason for the “no.”
Saying “No” is a skill that must be practiced.
Here are 5 ways you can say “no” well.
1. “Let me get back to you.”
Give yourself time to think about it. Let your answer be a response rather than a reaction. Check your calendar or schedule and make a calculated decision on the importance of your answer.
2. “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.”
Be Firm and Fair. Be ready to explain why it doesn’t work for you. Don’t give excuses. Be confident in your answer. Explain that maybe it will work for you at a later time or different season.
3. “Thank you, but I won't be able to. I have too much on my plate.”
Explain that your yes won't help. You are stretched too thin and have too much on your plate. You are flattered, but you know someone else will a better fit for the opportunity.
4. “I want to. However, I don’t see the need.”
Force the issue on relevance. It is essential that you be there. Is it worth your time as a leader? Is there an agenda, objective, or vision for this invitation?
Simple and confident. You can say no with grace. Say with conviction and to the point. Very black and white. Say in a way that is not offensive, such as, "No, I am unable to." This will relinquish any possibility that they can sell you to a yes. There is no possibility this will work out. Be upfront. They will thank you later.
Learn to say no with confidence and grace. Say no with conviction to people, situations, opportunities that do not move you to a desired set of objectives. A "no” will help guard you against distraction and guide you to purposeful action.