How to say no

By Drum Digital
30 November 2015

Are you a pushover when people ask you to do things you don’t have the time or means to do?

By Vida Li Sik

Does this sound like you? Your friend wants to borrow the new dress you just bought, you stay up late to finish a presentation for a colleague, you go out of your way to pick up a colleague who once again doesn’t have money for transport or you get roped in to cook food at a family gathering.

If you’ve said “yes” to the above, when you feel should have said “no”, because you fear others will criticise you for being selfish or uncaring then you should learn the art of saying no.

Being able to say no is an important skill. Here’s how to say “no” without damaging relationships:

Straight-talk tip: The way you say it matters. Use the acronym CARE to plan your conversation where you say no.

Clear. Start by finding out exactly what the person wants from you. Get details of what, when, who, why and how much.

Acknowledge the request. This way the person knows you heard and understood what he or she wants. You might say, “So, let me check: You want me to . . ,” or “Okay, you’re asking if I can . . . Is that right?”

Recognise your own needs. Do you have the time for this or would you enjoy doing it?

Effect. If you say no will this have a negative effect on an important relationship or your career?

When you say no, be brief and honest. Don’t apologise or explain unnecessarily. Simply allow the person to see that you’ve made your decision thoughtfully and carefully.

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