The Art of Saying ‘No’

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Featured, Individuals, Miscellaneous, Organizations, Women | 0 comments



In every role in an organization, one of the greatest challenges today is to know how and when to say ‘No’.  That may be perhaps, in the past at least, promotions were given to those who could accomplish the most by saying yes to every business opportunity and every request.

Busyness – 60, 80, 100 hour weeks, however, are no longer a sign of success. The fact is that you’re effective for much less time than that. Sometimes you focus on the wrong work or the right work at the wrong time. And so the key is to start allocating your time more effectively by prioritizing every opportunity and every request.

However, as your commitments get heavier, your goals to execute winning strategies and address complex management issues certainly emerge and more people strive for your time. They’ll want you to participate in projects and things that they have going on.

Gracefully and tactfully here are some ideas on how to say ‘No’ to others:

1. Prioritize your goals:  Explain your key responsibilities and how taking unrelated activities will jeopardize your goals.

2. Ask ‘When’ and postpone the decision: Explain that you can’t take on anything right now, but you might be able to squeeze it in at a later date. Look at your schedule and suggest a time. Most people are just fine with this approach.

3. Suggest an alternative: With a bit of thought, you might be able to offer a less complicated solution or recommend one that is well-within that person’s experience or expertise.

4. Be appreciative: You’re saying no to the request, not the person. Acknowledge the request appropriately, and let the other person know that you respect him/her.

5. Respond in a written format: If you feel uncomfortable saying ‘No’ in person. Take the time to look into your calendar, consider if you have time and effort to commit. This allows you to buy time to respond more appropriately.

6. Practice: It’s a simple word that feels awkward at first but it improves as you practice. It may even earn you more trust as others will appreciate your transparency and commitments.

If you want to meet your goals and bring your projects to completion, you have to manage your time effectively and learn the art of saying ‘No’ to others.



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