Learn to Say the Perfect “No”

| September 12, 2014

HBR940Harvard Business Review:

It’s not easy to say no to a coworker or boss, because we fear damaging the relationship or appearing incapable. We need to stop looking at saying no as a choice between confrontation and staying on good terms. Instead, say no when you have to, and keep a neutral demeanor. Be clear and firm. If you say no tentatively, you can give false hope – the person will think you might change your mind, and he or she will just keep pushing you. Give a good business reason for your refusal up front – and stick with it. If you try to soften the no by offering weak excuses and holding back the real reason, you’ll appear disingenuous. Saying no neutrally doesn’t come naturally, so try practicing ahead of time with someone who will push back.

Adapted from “ Say No Without Burning Bridges” by Holly Weeks.

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