“NO” Is Not A 4-Letter Word

 

This might sound counterintuitive, but in order to live it forward, you must learn how to say “no.”

Since forward is the direction of success, if you want to be successful in life and business, you have to learn how to say “yes” to decisions that will help you live it forward and “no” to decisions that will cause you to stand still or move backwards.
Let’s pause here for a moment and get gut-level honest. Saying “no” graciously is a hard skill to develop, especially if you enjoy helping people. Who wants to feel guilty or be considered rude? Yet when you say “yes” to everything, the reality is you will eventually  say “no” to something more important. Have you ever thought about it that way?

Since forward is the direction of success, if you want to be successful in life and business, you have to learn how to say “yes” to decisions that will help you live it forward and “no” to decisions that will cause you to stand still or move backwards. This does not mean you have to say “no” to everything that is not 100 percent mission critical, but you will have to learn how to say “no” when saying “yes” is strategically unwise.

Here are 3 strategies on how to say “no” nicely without burning bridges or feeling guilty…

3 Strategies for How To Say NO

Strategy #1—Just Say NO. If you can’t do something, just say: “I’m sorry. I cannot do that right now.” Be nice and even sympathetic, but be firm. If someone pressures you to explain why, tell them fitting this new thing into your schedule would cause you break another commitment. If the person keeps pressuring you, repeat what you already said. If they still won’t drop it, feel free to end the conversation because now they are being rude.

Strategy #2—Just say MAYBE. If you are unsure whether you should answer “yes” or “no,” you can say, “Let me think about it and get back to you.” This keeps you from making a decision too quickly and gives you a chance to consider all the options. However, don’t use this strategy to avoid saying “no” if you already know this is your answer. Not only is that cowardly, it’s dishonest and unfair to the person making the request.

Strategy #3—Just say YES, BUT… If you want to say yes, but realize you cannot agree to everything being asked of you, suggest an alternative. Say something like, “I cannot do that, but I can do this…” A secret to the art of saying “no” graciously is suggesting what you can do to help.

A 'no' uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a 'yes' merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble. - Gandhi Click To Tweet

Other helpful tips include:

  • Be polite, but firm. Demonstrate you are a caring person, but don’t fall for pressure tactics.
  • If you tell someone you will think about it and get back with her, take responsibility and get back with her.
  • As stated above, if someone wants an explanation, you do not have to give a dissertation. The best approach is to be clear that saying “yes” means saying “no” to another commitment.

Question: What strategies have helped you learn how to say “no” nicely without burning bridges or feeling guilty?