Learn How to Say NO (And when to say NO)

Learn How to Say NO

Are you a YES man/woman? Does saying No make you feel guilty or worried about inviting trouble?

If your answer to either question is yes, you are not alone. Considering the competitive job market, economic volatility, etc. it’s quite natural that you often succumb to saying yes. But what you probably don’t realize is the emotional, physical or financial impact it has on you.

The toughest part about saying no is the fear of disappointment. It could be your boss, manager, superior or even a colleague. And out of this fear, you probably give a nod.

Often, this yes comes with a feeling of tightness in the chest, anxiety and a dreadfulness of what comes next after you concurred. It may be prolonged working hours, taking up one more project even if you are overburdened or simply doing something you are not comfortable with.

Focusing is about saying no –  Steve Jobs

Why you should say NO?

  • If something falls out of your job description completely, doesn’t have any financial gains or hinders your existing work, do say NO. Doing so will only earn you more respect in the long run.
  • If it doesn’t align with your work priorities, especially long-term goals it is best to say no now rather than regret it later.
  • Most importantly, if you disagree with something, be it an executive decision, task assignment, etc. You should express yourself and let your colleagues/ senior know why you are saying NO.

Saying NO

It is pivotal that you learn how to say no and when to say it. Here’s how you can do it –

Think about it

Instead of an abrupt or reflex Yes/ No, just ask for a little time to think. Say, let me get back to you on this or let me check my schedule first. Honestly, if you are a lame liar then this will give you margin to come up with something better.

And in any case, you can give yourself ample time to consider if saying yes is practical and feasible for you at the moment.

Learn to prioritize

While you are thinking about it, learn to prioritize the task ahead. Is it something urgent that requires your special attention In that case, it is best to seek help instead of saying a no.

You can request for additional help from peers or colleagues or even rearrange your work schedule. So instead of saying an outright no you have a plan in place that suits your requirements. Offering an alternative is also a viable option here.

If you are saying NO

No is often regarded as a negative word and being so objective, to know how to use the word is crucial. Saying no can sound rude too so it’s important that you phrase your thoughts before speaking them aloud. Here’s what you should do.

Be firm but polite

Avoid a curt no (unless you really intend to sound that way). Politely but firmly explain that you cannot do a particular task or chore. In particular, no said over emails or the telephone is misconstrued.

When writing an email choose the right words, a simple thank you goes a long way. You can cite an excuse like

I want to get X done correctly and meticulously. It’s important that I give it my best instead of just getting the job done.

Learning how to say NO will not only boost productivity, it will also make you more confident about the tasks you can accomplish.

Jappreet Sethi

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