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Saying “No”

There are definite advantages to being agreeable in the workplace. Saying “yes” to people can help you to create professional relationships and develop a strong rapport with your colleagues. However, there are definitely situations in which saying “no” can be beneficial, be it rejecting an idea you see as badly planned, or turning down a project you don’t have the time for. But saying “no” doesn’t have to put a strain on your relationships. Use the following tips to help you say “no” with professionalism and grace:


Guide them to your side: Rather than simply rejecting an idea outright, think about what it is you feel is wrong with it. Then, instead of just stating those issues outright, ask questions that will lead the other person to see your point of view. By asking a few pointed questions, you can discreetly lead someone to your point of view.


Buy some time: Sometimes saying “no” is appropriate, but the time and place isn’t, for example, if the conversation is taking place in front of people who your conversation partner doesn’t want to lose face in front of. When this is the case, instead of saying “no” immediately, tell your conversation partner you’d like to think about it, and then make an appointment to talk at a later time and express your opinion then.


Try a different medium: In some cases, in-person communication isn’t the best way to say “no” to someone. For example, by deferring your response and replying by e-mail you allow yourself to state your case and give the other person time to consider your response with less pressure than would exist if you were face-to-face. Carefully consider your situation and decide what type of communication is best for the circumstances.


Do you want to improve your professional communication skills and learn how to make your speech work for you? Give us a call at 212-308-7725 or visit us on the web at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com and let our team of corporate speech-language pathologists help you craft your speech into your most powerful professional tool. Don’t live in NYC? No problem! Our services are Skype ready, so CSS can help you improve your communication from anywhere in the world.