The Art of Saying “No”

Last week’s blog post – “Saying No Can Be Hard To Do” hopefully started you thinking about how difficult it can be to say “No” and why in fact you do this based on your belief system.  This week I wanted to take that thinking one stage further and start to look at how you can change your “YES” setting.

Whether you’re employed or running a business the pressure to work longer than nine to five are greater than ever.

There comes a time, when saying “No” is something you have to do.

However, if time management becomes an issue learning to say “No” with confidence and without offending anyone can be vital.  Do you find it hard to say?

It might be because you’re eager to please, perhaps you feel guilty when you say “No” or people have just come to expect that when they approach you or push the boundaries, you’ll say “Yes

Saying “No” with confidence is not difficult. Armed with a few simple steps you can learn to say “No” leaving you and the other party still feeling great.

My four steps to saying “No” with confidence:
Ground Rules –  Work out what’s important to you.  Maybe clocking off at 5pm means that you can spend some quality time with the kids or your partner.  Understanding its importance helps you to preserve it.  Consider also the priority of your values i.e. family, then health, then work.  How important is time with family and friends.  Knowing this helps you set ground rules e.g. you could accept phone calls up to a certain hour.  Should weekend be work free?

Make your ground rules non-negotiable.

Offer A Reason – When people know why, they will be more understanding because emotions are attached to the situation.

So don’t just say “No” – Say “No because……”

An example could be that “I like to get home by 6pm once a week so that I can have some family time with the kids“.  There’s no need to feel guilty about that.

And remember that saying “yes” to someone else means that you are saying “No” to yourself, your values, your beliefs.  You’re saying you don’t matter as much as the other person.

A Helpful “No” – Presenting the other person with a possible solution means that you’re still being helpful.  Probably one of the reasons you always say “Yes” anyway.

So although you may say “No” you can’t work late to finish the customer order you may be in a position to say that you can come in early the next morning or suggest a colleague who you know is wanting the extra overtime.

Seeking a win-win situation that makes the other person feel valued is important whilst maintaining your own ground rules.

Choose Guilt Free – Remember that it is the other person who needs the favour, they’re asking you to put yourself out – you always have a choice, so choose not to feel guilty.

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If you still find this quite alien, remember my “take one small step” process to goal setting.  This can be applied here. Look for little examples of where you can say “No”, where perhaps the stakes are not quite so high.  The more you practice the easier this will become.

I would love to hear your stories of when saying “No” has really worked for you.  Please share them here:

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