The Art Of Saying No

It is not easy to say No when faced with a challenge or request that perhaps you feel that you should accept. The fear of upsetting the other person, making them unhappy or even offended is a very real feeling that you will have experienced: the fear of disappointing others is also ever-present with this frame of mind.

Often agreeing to something that will create problems for you can be a very damaging experience.

Continually saying Yes leaves you very little time for your own agenda and workload and increases personal stress and you quickly become ineffective.

  • Set boundaries. Have a very clear line drawn between what you need to complete and achieve and the demands that others put on you that will take you away from this. This is an important step towards protecting your personal space and time.
  • Set your focus upon important goals for you and not the goals of others. This will mean being a little selfish but, within reason, this is a healthy approach to take as it preserves your own time and focus.
  • Be direct but polite and say this upfront, so that you do not give in and crumble to the request a little further along. Begin perhaps with a “Sorry, cannot help you out on this occasion” and then give a short, crisp reason: this makes the process quick and direct and avoids a lengthy explanation which will tie you up in knots.
  • Show that you are sincere in your response: this will take the sting out of your rejection and show that you are reasonable in your decision.
  • Show attention to the request and not the person making it. Does the request fit in with your priorities? If so then it is acceptable to take on the task but if not then do not accept the task. This is all about the request and not the person, however important and friendly they might be to you!
  • Justify your response. Explain your position calmly and politely so that the other person can see your sincerity in refusing the task.
  • Offer an alternative. Suggest others who can help out or take on the full task.
  • Recognise that you cannot be responsible for the feelings of others. You should never really put yourself under pressure just to help out others as this directly impacts upon your own health and well-being.

Good Luck!

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