Someone invites you to work with them on a project–your (insert your spasm-struck body part here) chest tightens for a split second. If you are really smooth, you say, “Thank you, I’ll think about it.” I’m not smooth, so I (sometimes and working on rarely) say, “I’m really excited for you, great idea! That sounds like fun!” And I really mean that–but it always sounds like more of a YES than I mean. Either way, smooth or enthusiastically coltish, we both find ourselves hemming and hawing over the decision. Depending on our situation, we might even feel that saying NO is akin to breaking the rules (great tutorial on breaking the rules at Jeffrey Tang’s blog). If you find yourself twirling around these thoughts:
Should I? It could be good. I don’t want to hurt their feelings. Maybe I’ll make a pro/con list? Well, it won’t kill me, maybe it will make me stronger? I feel so guilty about not wanting to do this!
then you have officially entered into NO-gotiations. We are really talking our way around to NO–even though we know that’s the only true answer. We might even end up saying YES–but the energy of the No is undeniable. We drag it around and (okay, I’m just speaking for me here) get resentful, do a crappy job or end up having to pull out of commitments, which makes us feel even worse than if we’d just gone with No in the first place!
No-gotiating faster and with aplomb:
Listen to your body–it usually knows before you do. Keep a single post it note (or memo in your phone) handy and write down how you physically feel every time someone asks you a yes/no question today. What did you notice?
Write a script down for yourself and USE IT when you talk to folks. I keep them simple (and YES, I do have to keep these on my wall in my office and practice them), and customize them when needed:
NO, thank you (pause 2, 3, 4, 5)
I am intrigued! I need more information. How much time, money, energy, blood sweat and tears are involved?
Wow, I’m really flattered. Thank you, no.
I am not available for that. (pause 2, 3, 4, 5)
UPDATE: 7pm. My friend, Bob Peterson contributed this via Facebook today. It’s called the NO SANDWICH METHOD.
“It’s cheesy (not literally like provolone or swiss) but highly effective. The “bread” is letting the asker know you understand what is being asked (1st piece) The second slice is why you are saying no. The “meat” is “NO.” Not ” I can’t” or some other variation. It’s simple, but powerful. Ex. Wanna smoke a bowl? The “sandwich”…. “Hey, I … know you wanna get with me, but NO, b/c it’s not my thing, I’m a student athlete and don’t wanna get kicked off the team, etc….Like I said cheesy/corny, but it really works.”
Ask a trusted friend to listen to you. What do they hear?
Pound the pavement and find your way to your natural no. Oprah has a great series of articles on saying no.
Danielle LaPorte kicks butt–and she knows how to say NO! We did really fun interview for her new digital experience, The Firestarter Sessions, and somehow landed on selfishness, porn, entrepreneurial spirit and NOT-doing-it. Yes, you have to buy the thing to see the video. Yes, it’s worth it and yes, I became an affiliate (I get some moolah if you buy it from my link). Click on the image below to find out the scoop.
Say YES to saying no;
Where are you no-gotiating today?