Have you ever been in a situation where you have found it difficult to say “No”? Are you always trying to be nice to others at the expense of yourself? Well in this post I hope to answer and help you to effectively achieve this and have a better understanding of being able to successfully say “No”.
Trust me you are not alone in thinking you’re the only person that has had these feelings. There have been many of times in my life when I have wanted to please the people around me in fearing that if I said “No”, that I would be looked upon or made to feel bad for speaking up for myself and saying “No”.
It is a proven fact that you can never be productive if you take on to many commitments. You find yourself being spread too thin and find that you will not get anything completed either not well or on time.
Well your probably thinking then, why is it so hard to say “No”? Well to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and generally that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardise that.
Rather than avoiding it altogether, it’s all about learning the right way to say no. After I began to say no to other, I found that it’s really not as bad as I thought. Generally I found the other person were very understanding and didn’t put up any resistance. At the end of the day, the fears of saying no are just in our mind.
Below are some helpful tips for learning how to say no:-
- Priorities – Even if you do have some extra time, which at times can be few and far between, look at it this way, is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time or energy on? You need to look at focusing you priorities and energy into the tasks that are important to you and will beneficial in the long term not just to fill in the time.
- Don’t Apologize – A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but…” as many people think that it sounds more polite. Generally while politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.
- Time – Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. Always remember to tell the person that “I just can’t right now….my plate is overloaded as it is”.
- Practice – Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. Sometimes repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually they’ll get the message.
- Stop being Nice – It’s always important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time or money, they will continue to do it. But if you erect a way, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many request that are not on your top priority list as possible.
- Getting back to You – Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them “After giving is some thought, and checking my commitments, unfortunately I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
- Work – Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss, they’re our boss right? If we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact it can be the opposite. By explaining to your boss or supervisor that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss or supervisor insists that you take on the project, go over your project task list and ask them to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
Amanda Ogden is from Sydney Australia, and has spent the past 13 years working within the welfare industry in both administration and case management assisting people with mental health issues, mild intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, drug & alcohol, homelessness gain employment. She also loves travelling, creating jewellery, music, friends and family.