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The Art of Saying “No”

Do you find yourself constantly agreeing to projects that you don’t have time for? Have you
found yourself endorsing ideas you don’t fully believe because you’re afraid saying “no” will
damage your professional relationships? Many professionals are afraid that saying “no” to a
colleague or client will make them seem unpleasant or difficult, and find themselves roped into uncomfortable situations. Although everyone likes a person who is willing to go the extra mile and is open to others’ ideas and thoughts, learning to politely and confidently say “no” is an indispensable professional skill. Check out our three communication tips below!

Give a Reason: Take the time to let the person know why you’re declining a request. Providing
an explanation shows that you’re not arbitrarily saying “no” and that your response isn’t
personal. It can also be a great opportunity to provide feedback, for example, if you think a
project or idea isn’t viable in its current form, but could benefit from some small changes.

Wait Until the Time is Right: Sometimes it’s not saying “no” that is uncomfortable, it’s the
time and place. For example, if you’re in a group setting, the person making the request or
suggestion may be embarrassed if rejected. In this situation, buy some time, and tell your
conversation partner you need to think about it a little bit and that you’d love to meet up later to
discuss the situation. Once you are in private, you can express your opinion without an audience.

Create a “Positivity Sandwich”: Begin and end your response on a positive note, sandwiching
your denial in between. For example: “This sounds like a really interesting project and I
appreciate all the work that you’ve put in. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take part this time around. But thank you for thinking of me!”

If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at
jayne@corporatespeechsolutions.com to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any
questions you might have!

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