Do you know how to say no?  Many people have great difficulty saying NO to others.

Even people who are quite assertive, in some situations might find themselves saying yes to things that they really don’t want to do!

Watch the clip above, from a recent Great Managers MasterClass, on HOW TO SAY NO, to learn 2 leadership techniques to be more confident saying to the hand,leadership techniques

If you would like to view the full-length lesson on How to be More Assertive, for a limited time you can subscribe to the Great Managers MasterClass for free. *Click here for more info.*


[Don’t like videos? Video Transcription Below!]

How to Say No – Prime Your Mindset

To be more confident saying no, the first thing you need to do is to change your thinking.

Because as you’ll learn in the Great Managers Academy, Thinking is what’s going to drive your Behaviour.  So you want to learn how to Prime your Mindset first.

Here are some tips for Priming your Mindset.

Some thinking techniques to get better at saying no is to Prime your Mindset like this:

“People have the right to ask, and I have the right to decline a request.”

“When I say no, I’m refusing a request, not rejecting a person.”

“We always have a choice, and we’re constantly making choices”

“It’s possible I might be overestimating the other person’s response.”

(Sometimes we overestimate the difficulty that the other person will have with us saying no.)

“When I express my feelings openly and honestly, the other person is free to do the same.”

So those are all Mindsets that will help you get better at saying no.

How to Say No – Technique 1

The Reasoned Nohow to say no

This technique is about providing an explanation for the refusal.

This is not about making excuses, it’s about having a genuine reason for refusal, and it doesn’t lead the other person to think that your refusal is negotiable.

For example, someone might be asking you to take on some extra work that you can’t do and you say to them:

“I’m unable to take on any extra work at present. My calendar is completely full for the next month.”

So that’s your Reason for saying no.

Or, this might be on behalf of your team, so you say:

“My team cannot take on any new projects at present as we currently have a full project load for the next month.”

You’re saying assertively, “No, I can’t do that,” and giving the reason for it.

I’m sure most of you have said something like this in the past, but it’s now understanding the methodology behind it.

How to Say No – Technique 2

The Broken Record No

how to say noThe second technique for saying no is what’s called the Broken Record No.

This technique uses a one-sentence refusal statement and involves repeating that statement. It can be very useful for aggressive or manipulative people who find it difficult to accept your refusal.

I’m sure you’ve had this situation, too.

This technique could be used for any time that you’re being asked to do something when you know you can’t commit to it.  Imagine this scenario.

Someone’s invited you to be part of a working group that requires a commitment to fortnightly meetings.

So you say,

Thanks for the invite to the working group, but I’m not able to attend due to my current working commitments or my current work commitments.”

What tends to happen with these sort of aggressive or manipulative people is they cajole you, and they make the request again.  They’ll say, “Well, how about if I adjust the date for the first meeting? How would that work?”

So you repeat your statement. You say…

“As I’ve stated, I have work commitments and a full calendar, and I don’t have any time available.”

Normally, these sort of people will request again. They’ll say, “But we really need you to attend. We really need you to share your valuable ideas. We can’t do it without you.”

And you assertively say…

“Thanks for the invite, but I really don’t have the time to devote to this group due my current workload.”

See how those two techniques can work, in terms of helping you say no?

Is it easy? Not really.  Not necessarily.

Does it feel comfortable?  No, it doesn’t.

Is it honest and direct?  Yes, it is.

Which response is likely to be better for you in the long run? Saying yes when you don’t really want to say yes, or saying no?

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Next Steps

If you would like to learn practical steps to become a more assertive leader, you can view the full-length lesson on How to Be More Assertive in our Great Managers MasterClass. For a limited time, you can subscribe to our MasterClass for free. Click here for more info.