5 Tips to Say 'No' Graciously

5 Tips to Say No Graciously
Especially at this time of year, we can be pulled in 1001 different directions with so many demands on our time and attention. So here are 5 very specific techniques to help you say 'no' when you want - or need! - to!
  1. Remind yourself you are refusing the request not the person themselves. You might even remind the other person of this, too. "John, you know I've helped you in the past whenever possible - and it's just not possible for me to do that (or 'meet that deadline') for you right now."
  2. Offer what you CAN do. Sure - it may not be the whole kit and caboodle they are asking for, but is there some amount of assistance you can offer?
  3. Give a brief mention of the reason for your 'no' before actually saying it. Why? We all know ourselves that when we hear a 'I can't do that because ...' from someone, we rarely hear their explanation ... we're too busy thinking about our 'counter argument' and how we'll pressure them to say yes! So instead say "Mary, because of XYZ, I'm not able to help you / attend that function this time."
  4. Focus on being Polite, Honest, Clear (being brief is the best way to achieve this) and Clean (without blaming the other person in any way). And stay focussed on the one current request - even if the other person starts to dredge out a historical litany of all the times they've helped you!
  5. Thanks to my good friend and colleague, Robyn Henderson (, I now use this to help me decide if I can assist: "Give without remembering ... Receive without forgetting."

    How does this help me? I stop and consider if I can meet the request freely - without marking it up on my mental scorecard with the other person 'owing me one'. If this is the case, then I will be giving with resentment and/or string attached, which is not the spirit I want to come from. So if I decide on this basis to say 'no', I make use of the first 4 techniques to help me do so.
Wishing you success in saying 'no', drawing boundaries for yourself and being more in control of your life!
And all the best for the festive season and 2014 - see you next year!

Tags: Assertivensss |

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