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  • Carla Collis Gesite

8 Ways to Say "No"


It’s so important to say "No" these days. Because, until we learn to do it, we’ll continue to be stressed and overwhelmed with too much to do. And isn't it usually our true priorities (like our health, quality time with those we love, causes we're passionate about), that suffer?


Interestingly, most children go through a phase where their favorite word is No. That's because No is a power word. When you learn to say "No" more often, you release yourself from the burden of worrying about what others think and give yourself more time and freedom to do what matters to you.


One of the biggest challenges when it comes to saying "No" is knowing how to say it. Here are a few options to try...

1. SAY A SIMPLE “NO”: No, but thanks for asking/thinking of me.


2. EXPLAIN YOU HAVE A COMMITMENT: I’m already __________. (e.g., going to the dentist)


3. BUY YOURSELF TIME: (when you’re unsure how you feel or need time to prepare a response)

I’m away from my desk right now. Can I let you know once I have my calendar in front of me? or I’m just in the middle of something. Can I get back to you tomorrow (or next week?)


4. DEFER: (good for other people’s problems and issues) I’m crazy busy this week/month. Can it wait until next week/month?


5. SUGGEST AN ALTERNATIVE: (good for maintaining relationships and still being helpful)

Suggest who else could do it, I know John loves that kind of thing or

I don’t feel comfortable/have enough experience to help you with that but Sarah might.


6. REDIRECT: (good for those who take advantage of your good nature)

I can’t do it right now - but I could show you how you can do it yourself.


7. REQUEST PRIORITY: (good for dealing with your boss/when you’re at work)

Ask for the priority. Which one do you think I need to focus on first? or If I do this, what would you like me to stop working on?


8. PRIORITIZE YOURSELF: (stay in control of your life and feel good about you)

I’d love to help but I’m focusing on this report right now. or I don’t have time for anything except this proposal at the moment.


Next time you need to say "No", try one of these approaches! (And drop me a note to let me know how it went.)