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Eight Ways to Say No With Grace and Style

The Soft "No" ("No, But")

E-mail is also a good way to start practicing saying "no but" because it gives you the chance to draft and redraft your "no" to make it as graceful as possible. Plus, many people find that the distance of e-mail reduces the fear of awkwardness.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Eight Ways to Say No With Grace and Style

Eight Ways to Say No With Grace and Style

https://fs.blog/2014/11/saying-no/

fs.blog

11

Key Ideas

Josh Billings

Josh Billings

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."

"Saying no is its own leadership capability. It is not just a peripheral skill. As with any ability, we start with limited experience."

"Saying no is its own leadership capability. It is not just a peripheral skill. As with any ability, we start with limited experience."

The Awkward Pause

Use awkward pauses as a tool to say no. When a request comes to you (this works only in person), just pause for a moment. Count to three before delivering your verdict.

The Soft "No" ("No, But")

E-mail is also a good way to start practicing saying "no but" because it gives you the chance to draft and redraft your "no" to make it as graceful as possible. Plus, many people find that the distance of e-mail reduces the fear of awkwardness.

“Let me check my calendar and get back to you”

It gives you the time to pause and reflect and ultimately reply that if you are or are not available. It enables you to take back control of your own decisions rather than be rushed into a “yes” when you are asked.

Using E-mail Bouncebacks

Using email bouncebacks is the most socially acceptable “no” there is. It doesn't mean you're telling them that you don't want to respond to them. It only states that you can't reply for a certain period of time. 

“Yes. What should I deprioritize?”

Saying no to a senior leader at work is almost unthinkable, even laughable, for many people. However, when saying yes is going to compromise your ability to make the highest level of contribution to your work, it is also your obligation. In this case it is not only reasonable to say no, it is essential. One effective way to do that is to remind your superiors what you would be neglecting if you said yes and force them to grapple with the trade-off.

Saying "No" With Humor

Saying "no" with humor will lessen the awkwardness and will lighten up the atmosphere.

“You are welcome to X. I am willing to Y”

This is a particularly good way to navigate a request you would like to support somewhat but cannot throw your full weight behind. I particularly like this construct because it also expresses a respect for the other person's ability to choose, as well as your own. It reminds both parties of the choices they have.

“I can’t do it, but X might be interested”

It is tempting to think that our help is uniquely invaluable, but often people requesting something don't really care if we're the ones who help them- as long as they get the help.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Ways to Say No
  • The Indirect “No."Say no without feeling uncomfortable by explaining the reasons why you can't.
  • The “Let me get back to you.”Buy yourself time to think...
Fear of rejection

The main reason why we are having a hard time declining other people's requests is that we are afraid to be rejected. We are afraid that people might think negatively. 

Stop Saying Yes When You Want to Say No
  • Saying No Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Person: Saying no doesn't mean that you are being rude, selfish, or unkind. These are all unhelpful beliefs that make it hard to say no. Learning where these beliefs have come from is a great way to learn to let go of them.
  • Knowing Your Value:  Learning to say no is realizing that you are valuable and choosing your own opinion about yourself over others.
  • Is It Really Worth It?: Learning to say no is also deciding if saying yes is really worth it. Think about the anguish, stress, and resentment that saying yes has caused you. Wouldn't it be so much easier and straightforward to just say no in the first place?
Helpful Tips for Saying No
  • Be direct.
  • Don't apologize and give all sorts of reasons.
  • Be honest.
  • Don't delay your response.
  • Be polite.
  • Practice saying no. This will get you feeling a lot more comfortable with saying no.
  • Know your worth. Don't mind what other think of you.
A TED Talk is 18 minutes long

TED curator Chris Anderson explains:

The 18-minute length works ...
Give a TED-style talk that gets a lot of views
  • Arrange and re-arranged your message onto the 9-up format - same size as sticky notes, until you are happy with the flow.
  • Solicit feedback from effective presenters that you trust to give honest, unfiltered feedback on your narrative and slides.
  • Rehearse with a great (honest) communicator -  a coach that is not afraid to speak up.
  • Make sure you articulate each point clearly.  Your audience should understand what’s magnificent about your big idea.
  • Practice with a clock counting up the minutes, to know how much you're over. Only then trim it down.
  • Once you're within the timeframe, practice with a clock counting down. Know roughly where you should be at 6, 12 and 18 minutes.
  • Be noteworthy. Let your coach jot down what you say well and what you don’t. 
  • Don’t be camera shy. Talk to the camera like there are humans on the other side of it. Practice by videotaping yourself.
  • Do one more FULL timed rehearsal right before you walk on stage.
  • Pick two natural places you could stop in your talk, then demarcate those as possible endings. You can then stop at your first ending point if you run over your time.