Posted by: 2in10 | 01/25/2012

the art of saying no

A whitepaper by TalentSmart founder Dr. Travis Bradberry arrived in my inbox January 23, 2011. The title, “The Art of Saying No” caught my eye. Dr. Bradberry is the author of the popular and helpful book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Here’s the first and my favorite of the strategies he offers:

  1. Find your yes
    Before you can become good at saying no, you have to know what you’re saying yes to when you’re saying no. You see every opportunity that you pass with a no is really saying yes to something else—something that you’d prefer to do or something more important to you in the long run. You can’t hope to say no when the pressure is on until you know for sure what you really want. When you’re feeling pressure to say yes and acquiescence feels easier than taking a stand, just think of your yes.

Several years ago I phoned a dear friend to ask her how I should respond to a friend who was asking me to do something I felt was unreasonable. I was wracked with guilt because intellectually I thought it was a “good, nice” thing for me to do and I didn’t want to deny my friend. But deep in my heart I did not want to do what she was asking. 

My friend gave me this advice: if someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do, simply say no. “I would love to help, but I’m sorry I can’t.” No reasons, excuses, or explanations are required. Repeat if needed. Stick to your simple line, don’t embellish. Take your time. If there’s a gap in the conversation, let it be. But don’t feel pressured to acquiese.

I have used this technique on several occasions, and I see now that saying NO was a way for me to say YES to other claims on my time and energy.

Have a great day!




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