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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saying "NO" the Right Way

Saying no to a request can be difficult. Perhaps we don't want to feel as though we are insulting the person or even just letting them down. Most of us have a desire to please others and to feel as though we are "coming through" for them. And, of course, there are many appropriate times for a "yes" response However, when you believe "no" is the appropriate response, you should be able to do it so that you get your point across kindly and politely, and in such a way that the person does not continue to ask. And/or, if they do ask again, you're able to stay committed to your decision with the result being they discontinue their request.
Declining an offer graciously will allow you to never again get trapped into making a commitment you simply don't want to make. Or, just saying yes when you'd rather say no. Please, don't ever confuse being nice (or even, being a "Go-Giver") with not taking care of yourself and your personal needs. There is nothing righteous about that. However, also know that you can say no graciously, with class, and in a way that the other person cannot possibly be offended
Let's use the very generic situation where "someone asks you to do something you simply don't want to do." When this happens, offer lavish appreciation just for their "thinking" of you like that, then finish with the decline.
Example: "I'm honored to even be thought of in that way - that you would think highly enough of me to ask me to serve on this committee. However, I believe I'm going to respectfully decline your kind offer."
Okay, good start, but we're not through yet. There's one more very important thing you need to do (actually, not do) for this to work effectively. It is the difference between a good idea and accomplishing your goal.

Express apprecaiation for the offer, but never make excuses
So far, we discussed the importance of being able to say no to requests you truly don't want to accept and doing so in such a way that you are kind and polite but leave no doubt that you are not accepting the request. It was suggested you make a point of lavishing appreciation for the "offer" while actually declining. An example might be:
"I'm honored to even be thought of in that way - that you would think highly enough of me to ask me to serve on this committee. However, I believe I'm going to respectfully decline your kind offer."
If they persist and say, "Oh, c'mon; why not?" Or, "Please, we really need you" all you have to do is reply with a sincere smile and say, "I'd just rather not, but thank you so much for considering me."
The person will understand that you're not going to accept the position, but cannot possibly be offended because of your gracious, humble and appreciative attitude.
There is a key point, however, which actually makes this work. And, that is:
Do not make an excuse for saying no.
Please, really embrace this. It's that important. Do not make an excuse for saying no!
Please do not say, "I don't have time" or "I'm really not qualified," or anything similar you might be tempted to say. If you do, they'll attempt to answer the objection and continue to try and persuade you. And, when they overcome the objection(s) you'll either be cornered into accepting (so that you don't appear to be a liar) or you'll have to "admit" that what you said wasn't really true. You'll lose face and they'll resent you.
Don't get sucked into that game. A simple answer such as the one we used earlier along with a genuine smile will accomplish your goal. That, and…no excuses.
Will this work every time? Actually, yes, so long as you maintain your polite, thankful, yet steady posture of "no thank you." 

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