Do you ever just want to tell someone no, but don't know exactly how to say it without coming across rude or selfish? Recently I posted an instagraphic on how to have a simple life as an entrepreneur. Then it occurred to me that many of these tips to add simplicity to your life could apply to almost anyone in any situation. One key point which stood out to me was to say no when you mean it. I realized this action can be quite difficult for most of us. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell someone no, especially loved ones or bosses. As women we are natural nurturers and people pleasers at heart. We mean well and want to do what we can to help others. For most of us we just can’t help it we want to help everyone, sometimes even before we help ourselves. In light of this I decided to identify some sensible ways to sugarcoat saying no, that allow you to convey you are not able (or willing) to do something. Sugarcoating no also allows you to say no without feel bad about.
Ask probing questions about a deadline.
Ask questions such as when do you need this to be taken care of? Can I do it another time? Is there anyone else available for this? By doing this it makes the recipient aware there may not be time in your schedule to get to it right way. Additionally, if this is something only you will be able to do, it allows you to prioritize and set a realistic expectation for completing the action.
Be honest. Be assertive. Be direct.
When you are not able to say yes, be assertive in your tone of voice and delivery of your message. This lets your recipient know you mean what you say without being intimidating or passive. (i.e. I’m busy that day.) Sometimes things fall in our laps due to poor planning of others in this instance be clear in stating the inconvenience to be able to get to it. (i.e. You should have given me more advance time.)
Provide a name of an alternate contact.
Delegate. If you are able to redirect them to another person do so. However, when doing so, be sure you are directing them to a reliable person who is just as capable as you to get the job accomplished. (i.e. I’ll arrange for someone else. Jane is available that day. Jane handles appointments too; I’ll have her give you a call. Or you can have that person follow up with the alternate point of contact.)
Explain available options and negotiate results.
If you are not able to say yes to the entire request but you can do a portion of it, state that. (i.e. I cannot do all of it but I can do some of it. OR I will not be able to get that done today but I can have it done for you tomorrow.)
Buy yourself some time.
If all else fails just respond I’ll get back to you. Take time to think the request over to come up with a reasonable solution.