The Art of Saying No

by Kay Lynn · 3 comments

Do you have too many events and obligations on your calendar? If you’re constantly scrambling to meet commitments it may be time to start saying no.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to say no to requests for my time, talents or wallet. You can try to do everything, but it will most likely not end well. I’ve learned the hard way to be better at saying no to requests and have a few strategies for dealing with these situations.

Say No -Ignore the Request

Some requests you can just ignore. These are the impersonal mass audience ones. An example of this type of request is a general mailing soliciting charitable donations.

We all probably received mailings in November to donate for various causes. I just threw these away as my charitable giving plans were already made.

Say No -Delay Responding

Sometimes, you can put off answering long enough that you are no longer needed. This tactic usually only works if more than one person was asked and even when you don’t want it to.

Recently, a woman’s group from church asked for volunteers to sell tickets to an upcoming event. By the time I figured out my schedule and got back to them, the table was fully staffed.

Give a Positive No

A positive no is used when you can’t do exactly what is being asked, but can offer an alternative. A couple of years ago I belonged to a local chapter of a national project management group. Fresh members were recruited by many of the officers to volunteer with their respective teams.

When I was approached to take on a role that would demand a lot of time, I offered to do a smaller role instead as the monthly dinner meeting coordinator which was gladly accepted.

Just Say No

If you really can’t do whatever was asked of you, then the kindest thing may be just to tell them no as soon as possible. There are blogging opportunities I have to turn down because of other obligations.

I sometimes procrastinate responding because deep down, I really want to say yes. What I should do is respond quickly and politely so that I will be considered again in the future or at the very least, stay on good terms.

Thoughts on Saying No

Learning to say no can go a long way in reducing stress and making life more manageable. What are your tips for saying no?

About Kay Lynn
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  • http://www.investitwisely.com Invest It Wisely

    Sometimes ignoring works better than responding as responding gives the other side a chance to follow up, ask further questions, and say why. In the case where a response is unavoidable a firm no might sometimes be necessary though it may lead to hurt feelings, so here the Chinese concept of “mian zi” or face can be useful.

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