The 4 No's of being a No Pro

Saying “No” can be difficult because Pleaseaholics are concerned about hurting people’s feeling or damaging a relationship. I know how difficult it can be to even imagine telling someone no. Having the right tool for the job makes it easier because you don’t have to think about how to phrase it just right. The 4 No’s do all the work for you. These 4 No’s are simple, practical solutions to gracefully decline a request of your time or resources. Each no is designed for a specific situation or type of relationship. All you have to do it pick the right “NO” and put it to use.

1. Short & Sweet No
This no is ideal for strangers or intrusive salespeople. In this case, keep it short and sweet with a smile and a simple “No” or “No thanks” response. I believe in kindness to strangers too, so be polite, but clear. If this sounds impossibly harsh, really think about what’s motivating you. If you want to avoid hurting a person’s feelings, it’s worse to let them go through their whole pitch and then tell them no. Also, you’re taking time away from people, projects and causes that are your true priorities in favor of someone you don’t even know.

2. Simplify Sandwich
Use Simplify Sandwich with co-workers, acquaintances and anyone with whom you have an on-going friendly relationship. It sounds like this, “I’m sorry, I’m making an effort to simplify right now, but thanks for thinking of me.” The “simplify” is sandwiched between “I’m sorry” and “Thank You” – two of the least conflict evoking phrases in the English language. Also, everyone can relate to an intention to simplify, especially around the holidays. It’s more credible than being “busy.”

Practice saying the Simplify Sandwich aloud repeatedly so it rolls easily out of your mouth when it’s time to use it.

3. The Invisible No
The Invisible No is great for children or adults who act like children. The “NO” is implied and inferred, but never stated. In fact it starts with a “yes.” Therefore it’s less likely to be rebuffed. Here’s the formula for The Invisible No: “Yes, you can _____ as soon as you ______.” For example, if your child wants to go outside and play, avoid getting into a tug of war, or caving on your no. Simply respond, “Yes, you can go outside as soon as you finish unloading the dishwasher.” Continue to calmly repeat your Invisible No like a broken record. They’ll get the point.

4. The Positive No
The Positive No is reserved for your most important relationships or significant requests. William Ury, world-renowned negotiator and author of A Positive No, developed it. The structure of A Positive No is actually a YES, NO, YES. The first “yes” is your core value that’s driving your need to decline the request. The “no” clearly states your boundary. The last “yes” is an invitation to find a solution that’s mutually agreeable to both of you.

For example, let’s say your good friend asks you to be in her wedding that’s being held in Hawaii. She is a very good friend, but you don’t consider you to be as close as she does. You don’t want to hurt her feelings, but you really can’t afford to make a trip to Hawaii. The Positive No allows you to say no and still preserve the friendship. It would sound something like this”

“I’m struggling with the costs involved in going to Hawaii for your wedding. I value you and our friendship so much, and would never want to do anything to hurt you. However, I also have to think of my family’s finances. I’m so sorry to say I won’t be able to be in your wedding. I hope you know I stand beside you in spirit. I want to show you how much I value you and our friendship in some other way. Could I throw you a wedding shower? What else can I do to make up for the fact I can’t make it to you big day?”

In this way, The Positive No honors your intention to respect the other person’s feelings and avoid damaging the relationship, yet also provides a way for you to set a boundary at the same time.

Assignment: When you feel pressured to say yes, but want to say no, pick the “No” that’s appropriate for that situation and put it into play

Author's Bio: 

Stephanie Owens, founder and creator of the Better Boundaries, Better Life System is dedicated to bringing products and services to busy, purpose-driven women attempting to juggle work, family and their own (usually rediculously ) high expectations. She provides step-by-step guidance to help her clients on their journey to create the life they were born to live. She developed the “Better Boundaries, Better Life” system to show busy women the keys to unlocking a life that honors their talents, passions and purpose by ridding themselves of the disease to please.