However, when you believe "no" is the appropriate response, you should be able to do it so that you get your point across kindly and politely, and in such a way that the person does not continue to ask. And/or, if they do ask again, you're able to stay committed to your decision with the result being they discontinue their request.
Declining an offer graciously will allow you to never again get trapped into making a commitment you simply don't want to make. Or, just saying yes when you'd rather say no. Please, don't ever confuse being nice (or even, being a "Go-Giver") with not taking care of yourself and your personal needs. There is nothing righteous about that. However, also know that you can say no graciously, with class, and in a way that the other person cannot possibly be offended.
Let's use the very generic situation where "someone asks you to do something you simply don't want to do." When this happens, offer lavish appreciation just for their "thinking" of you like that, then finish with the decline.
Example: "I'm honored to even be thought of in that way - that you would think highly enough of me to ask me to serve on this committee. However, I believe I'm going to respectfully decline your kind offer."
Okay, good start, but we're not through yet. There's one more very important thing you need to do (actually, not do) for this to work effectively. It is the difference between a good idea and accomplishing your goal.
So far, we discussed the importance of being able to say no to requests you truly don't want to accept and doing so in such a way that you are kind and polite but leave no doubt that you are not accepting the request. It was suggested you make a point of lavishing appreciation for the "offer" while actually declining. An example might be:
|Express apprecaiation for the offer, but never make excuses
"I'm honored to even be thought of in that way - that you would think highly enough of me to ask me to serve on this committee. However, I believe I'm going to respectfully decline your kind offer."
If they persist and say, "Oh, c'mon; why not?" Or, "Please, we really need you" all you have to do is reply with a sincere smile and say, "I'd just rather not, but thank you so much for considering me."
The person will understand that you're not going to accept the position, but cannot possibly be offended because of your gracious, humble and appreciative attitude.
There is a key point, however, which actually makes this work. And, that is:
Do not make an excuse for saying no.
Please, really embrace this. It's that important. Do not make an excuse for saying no!
Please do not say, "I don't have time" or "I'm really not qualified," or anything similar you might be tempted to say. If you do, they'll attempt to answer the objection and continue to try and persuade you. And, when they overcome the objection(s) you'll either be cornered into accepting (so that you don't appear to be a liar) or you'll have to "admit" that what you said wasn't really true. You'll lose face and they'll resent you.
Don't get sucked into that game. A simple answer such as the one we used earlier along with a genuine smile will accomplish your goal. That, and…no excuses.
Will this work every time? Actually, yes, so long as you maintain your polite, thankful, yet steady posture of "no thank you."
Bonus: Once you begin training people (even those who are used to your giving in) that you are able to say no and not be bullied, coerced or guilted into doing something you don't want to do, you will find that, from now on, all it will take is one "no" per request to not be asked again.
Bob Burg of Burg Communications,Inc is author of EndlessReferrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales, Winning Without Intimidation and The Success Formula. Bob's popular blog is a must-read for all serious students of effective communication. Check out his full line of books, ebooks and CDs from which everyone can grow and prosper at his online store.
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