When turning down an invitation or an idea, I often feel that I have to add a reason to my response. Every time I attempt to mutter an excuse that seems reasonable, I end up sounding pathetic and disappointing. When you absolutely don’t want to agree to a request, say no and let it be a complete sentence.
If you find yourself explaining your answer, or worse, saying “Yes” because your “No” isn’t strong enough, here’s how to ensure your NO is a complete sentence.
1) Prepare your response in advance.
Honestly, people come to you for help because they know you’ll say yes. It’s easier to ask you than to ask anyone else. If you don’t have a planned response, you’ll often say yes because your were caught off-guard. Start training yourself to say no by turning down requests that you absolutely do not want to do, ever. Have a few rejection responses memorized. You can always change your mind later.
Quick Answers, “No, I can’t make it.” Or, “No, I have other plans”, then smile and stop talking.
If they continue to ask Why Not, respond with quick questions of your own, “Have you asked anyone else?” “Why are you asking me? Will have them responding to you and often turns the conversation around.
You can simply say No – or if you want to be polite, say “No, thank you.” Period.
Rule of Thumb: By agreeing to every request, you’re eliminating your options of spending time doing things that you really love, that energize you and keep you feeling optimized. It’s far easier to jump on board later than it is to get out of a commitment after you’ve agreed.
2) Ask something, anything.
It’s easy for people to ask you for help, because they don’t have to reciprocate, so it’s about time you asked for them to return the favor. You can feel better about agreeing to their request when you set some boundaries of your own. Maybe the reason you’re always on the receiving end of requests is because you never make any of your own.
“I’ll agree to help with your event. Will you help me with mine?”
“I can help out for a few hours; will you put together a few other members of the team?”
“I’ll attend your event; will you give me a few minutes to present to your group? “
Rule of Thumb: Rather than being viewed as a community giver, everyone knows you’re a pushover. Say yes to people who are truly interested in a partnership.
3) Only fools rush in.
Just because technology provides instant answers doesn’t mean you have to. Never agree to anything on the spot. Buying yourself time to respond ensures you agree to commitments with a clear mind, avoiding the regret of an immediate response.
“I have to check my calendar and get back to you. What’s your deadline?”
“Can you put that request in writing so I’ll know what I’m committing to?”
“Who else have you asked?”
Rule of Thumb: If you really want to do it, or you really want to help out a friend or loved one, say YES. Do what you love and help those you love. Follow your heart and you’ll never make a mistake.