How to Say No

In today’s busy word one of the most important skills to learn is how to say “No”. We are very busy and it is easy to become overwhelmed if you overcommit. If you are like most people, you do not like saying “No.” This could be because you genuinely like to help others, or maybe you do not want to reject others. Perhaps you are afraid this will reflect poorly on you if you say “No”. The reality is there are times you need to put your time and your business’s needs first. If you do not balance your priorities effectively you are not as productive, could feel overwhelmed, and harbor feelings of resentment.

As Warren Buffet once said: “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘No’ to almost everything.”

Here is how to say “No” and still look good:

Be clear and direct. Providing a vague response, excuses, or an unclear answer will only create an awkward conversation.  You eventually will still have to say “No” after wasting everyone’s time in needless conversation. People may not like hearing “No” but appreciate this more than excuses or a lukewarm response.

Provide positivity. Being able to provide the individual with a positive response helps cement a positive relationship.  For example, try saying “This is a solid opportunity but now is not the right time.”

Tell them the reason. “I appreciate the offer, but this does not… fit our business model, fit our budget, etc.” But if telling the reason could give them an opening for a discussion to pressure you, skip it.

Give yourself time. If you are uncomfortable being firm or dealing with a pushy individual it is ok to say, “let me think about this and get back to you”. Just make sure to get back to them with a definitive answer. This tactic helps you avoid feeling pressured into doing something you do not want to do

Say yes to something else. Propose an alternative option if you can. Maybe you can commit to a smaller role or to a future opportunity.

Do not burn bridges. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Saying “No” does not mean you have to be rude or inconsiderate. The ability to say “No” politely is a powerful tool to keep and even build strong relationships