Sometimes people come knocking at your door because they want something from you. However, you either don’t want to work with them or that project doesn’t resonate with you or your values. Other times, you may be dealing with people already in your room, and we feel this is an important aspect of our message. Here are seven ways you can say no and not come across like a jerk (or worse):
- If I say yes, I’m afraid I’d let you down. A very effective way to tell someone no is to tell them you believe you’d let them down if you do what they are asking. It might be because you don’t have the bandwidth, the knowledge, or the expertise to do what they are asking; but, in any case, you’re not the person to help make this idea a success, and you don’t want to disappoint them. This type of response not only gets you off the hook but also affirms your work ethic and shows you want the person and their project to succeed.
- Know the difference between an opportunity and a distraction. Recognizing this distinction begins by knowing your own personal or professional mission. If you know your purpose/expertise/mission, then you can say no when someone comes to you with something that is a distraction to that mission. This strategy can be particularly helpful for projects that perhaps interest you in theory but don’t align with your goals and mission in practice, right now. One of the best ways to apply this concept is to use the technique below.
- Refer them to someone more qualified. When we say no to someone, we always try to refer them to someone who is more qualified or more suited to help that person. We also try to refer them to someone whose mission is more in alignment with their project. Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should if it’s not truly your area of expertise.
- I don’t do that. Sometimes the request and response can be very simple. For example, when someone tries to convince Ivan to have a piece of cake or pie, he simply says, “Thanks, but I don’t eat processed sugar.” When they say something like, “Oh, just a bite,” he has no problem telling them they should feel free to have his bite—because he doesn’t eat sugar.
- Don’t “Seinfeld” it. One of the really funny things on the old TV series Seinfeld was how the characters would go off on some crazy, complicated subterfuge or ruse and end up getting in more trouble than if they had just been candid to start with. Be polite, but be honest and direct.
- Propose something else. If you are unable to do something that you’re being asked to do, offer them something else instead. If you are a restaurant owner, maybe you can’t afford to cater that 5K charity race for free, but maybe you can afford to donate several gift certificates for the charity to raffle. By proposing something else, you can still build a relationship.
- When you say it, mean it! Be a broken record. Sometimes people don’t take no for an answer. Try to be polite, smile, and repeat what you said before. Don’t be surprised if you have to repeat yourself multiple times before people understand you meant what you said.
This is the premise behind the newest book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life” by Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio.
To order the book, please use this link: https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom
The Kindle edition of “Who’s in Your Room” is available for a limited time for only $1. Download it while the Cyber Monday special lasts.