When you are serious about keeping your word, simplifying your life, or taking control of your schedule, you have to become selective about what you agree to doing. The word “no” isn’t the bad word you may have been taught it was as a kid. Instead, it’s your ticket to freedom. Understanding the different ways and situations in which to use no is key to keeping your focus on only those things that you want to do.

Here are your 7 Ways to Say No!

1. The Apologetic No
If someone asks you for a favor or to attend a function, and you want to or have to say no, do so in an apologetic fashion. This expresses that you would really like to help or attend, but will not be doing so. If there is a reason that is preventing you from doing so, you can choose to state it for full disclosure. You can also state that you have a previously scheduled engagement, even if that engagement is time for yourself to recharge your batteries. However, you should feel no obligation to provide a reason. It’s your time and your choice. Time is a non-renewable resource, as author Tisa Silver wrote in her Amazon.com best seller, “The Time Value of Life”. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

2. “Another Idea Might Be To….”
When people try to convince you that they have a great idea, and you want to be respectful of their idea while disagreeing, say no with an alternative. Rather than saying “No, that won’t work”, say, “Another idea might be to…”. In this way, you aren’t imposing a judgment on their idea, while introducing a viable alternative. If they persist with their idea, try to understand it more from their perspective with probing questions. If you are convinced more than ever that this idea is a non-starter, attempt one more alternative that addresses their requirements. If they still don’t let go of their idea, let them know that you’ll support them in their cause and will be available to discuss it further. Then, let them proceed. If they want you to join their scheme and you don’t want to, see the “Apologetic” way to say no.

3. The Strong But Polite No
Sometimes people ask for what you might consider to be an unreasonable request. You start out with an apologetic no, but they continue trying to convince you to assist. You provide alternate suggestions for assistance, but all they can see is you helping them. It is at that point that the “Strong But Polite” way of saying no comes into play. With focused energy, say, “I’m sorry, but I cannot help you at this time.” If the unreasonable requestor continues, say, “Again, I’m sorry, but my answer has to be no. I appreciate you thinking about me, but I can’t help you at this time.” In truth, there is a hidden compliment when someone comes to you for assistance of any kind. They believe you have what it takes to bail them out. If you honestly can’t, or won’t just remember that you can say no and remain polite, while remaining appreciative that they thought to come to you.

4. The Flat Out No
Then there are times when remaining polite is a secondary concern. If someone makes a request of you that goes against your morals, values or common sense, a flat out no may be required. This is a straight-faced, stern, assertively stated no! The key here is to say it with authority and without ambiguity. This “not” must communicate no way, no how, and never. If the request continues, with personal authority say, “I said No!”. It’s not anger and its not aggression. It’s assertion with authority.

5. The “Tele-Marketer” No
Whether it’s a telemarketer or an overly aggressive sales person at a mall kiosk, this brand of sales person has a lot to say, they don’t leave you an opening, and they desperately want your business. These sales people are normally waiting to hear 3 no’s from you before they stop their sales siege. So, give them all 3 no’s back-to-back. Say, “No thank you, no thank you, no thank you.” You may have to cut them off in the middle of a lengthy sales pitch to do this. However, if you are really not interested and you can’t be convinced, you are doing them a favor. They’ll have more time to move on to the next prospect. After the rapid fire and strongly said no thank you’s, they’ll normally thank you for your time and you can end the conversation respectfully. There’s no need to hang up on a telemarketer. They are trying to make a living just as you are. The “Telemarketer No” conveys what they need to hear to allow for a pleasant end to an unwanted sales call.

6. The Silent No
Every once in a while, someone will say something that you choose not to dignify with an answer. Remaining silent is a great way to convey your disapproval of what was said while taking the high road in your response. Remain silent and look at the person who said what was said for 5 seconds with laser-like focus. Then, walk away. If this is on the telephone, remain silent for 3 – 5 seconds before saying goodbye and hanging up the phone.

7. Hell No!
Sometimes expressed as “Hell-to-the-No!”, the “Hell No!” is used when you have to express the full emotion of anger, upset and/or surprise. This is “no” with a dose of attitude. Use it sparingly, as it’s greatest affects result for those that use it the least. While we all strive to eliminate our trigger points for anger and upset, sometimes people want to trigger these emotions. This response can sometimes give them much more than they bargained for.

We all have to say no sometimes. Knowing when and how to say no can spare feelings, convey a violation of ethics, or express outrage. More importantly than all of these, no gives you control of your time, which is your most valuable resource.

Author's Bio: 

James LeGrand is the Author of "Evolve!", an Amazon.com best seller in Religion and Spirituality. He is also the publisher of http://www.SpiritualIndividual.com, a free weekly newsletter that presents solutions to life’s issues through the lens of self-help, wisdom, philosophy and spirituality. In addition, James LeGrand is a Life Strategist, an Expert Author with SelfGrowth.com & EzineArticles.com, a former Radio Personality, a Fortune 500 Vice President, and a Sifu in Shaolin Kungfu, which has been known for centuries as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment.