- Decide if you want to say yes or no. You may need time to think it over - let the person know when you'll be ready. Know what you want.
- Ask for clarification if you don't understand what is requested of you.
- Be as brief as possible with a legitimate reason for your refusal. Avoid elaborate justifications as these may be used to argue you out of your "no."
- Use the work "no." "No" has more power and is less ambiguous than, "Well, I just don't think so...."
- Make sure your gestures mirror your verbal messages. Shake your head when saying "no." Often people unknowingly nod their heads and smile when they are attempting to refuse.
- "I won't" or "I've decided not to" are better than "I can't" or "I shouldn't." This emphasizes that you have made a choice.
- You may have to decline several times before the person "hears" you It is not necessary to come up with a new explanation each time, just repeat your "no" and your original reason for declining.
- If the person persists after you have repeated "no" several times, use silence (easier on the phone), or change the topic of conversation. You have the right to end the conversation.
- You may want to acknowledge any feelings another has about your refusal. "I know this will be a disappointment to you, but I won't be able to...." Don't say "I'm sorry." In most situations saying "I'm sorry" tends to compromise your basic right to say "no."
- Avoid feeling guilty. It's not up to you to solve others' problems.
- If you do not want to agree to the person's original request, but still desire to help them out, offer a compromise: "I will not be able to baby-sit the whole day, but I can sit for two hours." - You can say "no" to a request you originally said "yes" to!
TIP 1: BREATHE!
TIP 2: THINK BEFORE YOU REACT.
TIP 3: TALK TO YOURSELF
TIP 4: MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
TIP 5: STAY AWARE OF YOUR WHOLE BODY
Download Assertiveness Tips
For more information visit Athina-Eleni in the SF/CS office or call (617) 850-1289.