- Say it. Don't delay and don't try making excuses because that puts people in a place to ask more. Provide a brief explanation.
- Be assertive and courteousYou might say, "I'm sorry I can't right now but will let you know when and if I can." This approach is polite, and puts you in a position of power by changing the dynamic. You're taking charge, telling people you'll let them know when and if you can.
- Understand peoples' tactics. Many people and organizations use manipulation techniques, whether knowingly or not.
- Set boundaries. When you truly understand the dynamic and your role, you won't feel as worried about the consequences of saying no. You'll realize that your relationship is solid and can withstand your saying no.
- Put the question back on the person asking. Let's say a supervisor is asking you to take on several tasks--more than you can handle. You might say, "I'm happy to do X, Y, and Z; however, I would need three weeks, rather than two, to do a good job. How would you like me to prioritize them?"
- Be firm. Stand firm, and don't feel compelled to give in just because that person is uncomfortable.
- Be selfish. Put your needs first. Not those of the person asking you for something.
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