5 Ways To Say 'No' Effectively

We all get bombarded with requests and demands for our attention and our time. Learning to say "No" in a way that is respectful but firm is a key skill you can develop to handle those requests you simply do not have time for (or the knowledge to do effectively). Related: 4 Tips For Becoming The Co-Worker Everyone Loves I recently re-read the book, The Power of a Positive No, written by William Ury. His book offers great advice and tips for how to say "No" with grace and effect. In his book, William offers the following specific phrases you can use to say "No" to the demands of others in a manner that is appreciative and flows naturally and sincerely:


"No" Or "No Thanks."

Directness has its place, but it can also be expressed gracefully. Adding the word "thanks" to your "no" shows respect and care for the relationship.

"I Have A Policy."

Examples include, "I have a policy to never lend money to friends or family members," or, "I have a policy to never make significant purchases without first speaking to my wife (or husband, or partner)."

"I Have Plans."

A great concrete everyday phrase that can affirm your interests as well as you power without spoiling your relationship is, "I already have plans," or, "I have another event I've committed to that evening."

"Not Now."

Maybe another time. This softens the blow of a "No" and leaves the door open to a future request. "Not now" should only be used in those cases where there does exist a real possibility for addressing the others' needs in the future.

"I Prefer To Decline Rather Than Do A Poor Job."

When you decline rather than do a poor job, you are not only affirming your own interests but also paying attention to the relationship. You would both be worse off, and so would your relationship, if you say "Yes" and then a job that turns out to be much less than satisfactory. Know your limits and acknowledge them freely. Spend your time doing what you do well and what is truly best for you. Both you and the other will be better off in the long run. This post was originally published on an earlier date.

Related Posts

3 Steps To Genuine Productivity At Work 5 Tips For Dealing With An Annoying Co-Worker 3 Tips For Multitasking Smarter, Not Harder   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less

All work and no play can create a tense and unwelcoming environment. Studies have shown that employers that offer additional perks have employees that are happier and more loyal to their place of employment. If you are looking for an employer that acknowledges how important it is to give its employees a place to de-stress and bond with their co-workers, check out these companies!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if you worked for an owner who micro-manages you my watching you work on camera and reading through your company emails.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Diane submitted. She has recently worked with a co-worker on a group project. When it came time to present the project at a meeting, Diane let her co-worker present. While it went great, the co-worker proceed to take credit for nearly all of Diane's work. Frustrating to say the least!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if your co-worker took credit for the work you did...right in front of your colleagues AND boss!

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less