Do you have a tough time saying no? Do others take advantage of you because they know you are a push over? To keep your job, your self-respect, your sanity and some kind of work/life balance, try these nine ways of saying “NO” without saying no.
1. “I would if I could, however…” Don’t use “but”, use “and” or “however.”
2. “Which of these other tasks should I put aside?” Give the responsibility of all that has been assigned you to the assignee. If the new request comes from someone other than the person to whom you are working with at the moment, ask the new requester to ask the other task master to give you permission to switch tasks.
3. “After looking at my calendar, I can’t get to it till next week. Would that be ok?” This is a great stalling technique.
4. “Can I get back to you on that?” It shows you are thinking about it.
5. I’d be glad to, however, there are others who know ——— better than me.” Be careful not to suggest any one person in particular.
6. “After realizing the scope of the project, I’m going to have to say no.”
7. “I would feel awkward doing this for you.” This is a common response to personal requests made by bosses of employees, like buying presents or clothing for them.
8. “I’m sorry, I just can’t do it.”
9. “I’ll do it, if you’ll do …..for me.” Tit for tat, trade political chips.
Of course, you have to use common sense in determining who you can legitimately say no to and whom you cannot. Step out of your comfort zone and get out there and practice them. Use a pleasant tone of voice and look the person in the eye. Smiling helps too.
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It