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Master the Art of Saying ‘No’

Say ‘No’ in the subtlest and most diplomatic manner possible

Work And career
| Contributor Content| UPDATED: February 16, 2018, 8:46 AM IST
Master the Art of Saying ‘No’ (Photo courtesy: AFP Realxnews/ kieferpix/ Istock.com)
Helping others or accepting their ideas is not just beneficial morally but also helps in getting ahead in your work sphere, however being ever ready to nod your head and say ‘Yes’ to everything is impossible because of a wide array of reasons, so here are ways how you can master the art of saying ‘No’ in the subtlest and most diplomatic manner possible.

1. The Client (s)

Saying ‘no’ to a client is a tough nut to crack and it’s usually best that ‘No’ is never used in the same sentence as your client’s ideas; however, there are a few times when we don’t find the client’s ideas or suggestion feasible. For situations like this, first of all, listen to the client carefully, don’t interrupt. Just play your cards right and let him put all his ideas before you. Understand what he wants, what he doesn’t want, what is his purpose… etc and once that’s done, lay out your plan of action before him clearly telling him how you’re going to tackle his key concerns and desires. Start by telling what is doable and then follow through what won’t be possible.

2. The Superior (s)

In case your department head or superior assigns you a new task, but your plate is already full, instead of saying an outright no or a rejection that is diplomatic on the face of it, go for a ‘thank you for thinking of me’ instead, followed by your plans of working on a particular project or projects during that week. This approach is certainly better as it doesn’t hurt your superior’s sentiments and lets him know that you appreciate the fact that you are considered as a valued and efficient employee, but also conveys your situation clearly. At the same time, if your boss thinks that the new task is more important than the ones previously assigned to you, he will simply ask you to focus on whichever needs to be prioritized.

3. The Colleague

If your colleague asks your help on a certain project that you have little to no knowledge about or are more or less uninterested, instead of an outright no or giving ‘hard to believe’ excuses, it’s better you state the truth in politely like “as amazing and fun as it sounds, sorry, but I don’t really know much about this”

4. The Employees

When you’re the boss, many times you’re faced with tough calls, like when you have a team of creative geniuses who come to you every now and then with creative suggestions and ideas. For example, you are working on a certain project where their input in unnecessary as the plan is plain and clear and modifications or changes are not required; there, instead of an outright seemingly dictatorial ‘NO’ go for a subtle yet effective reply with a reason and also one that conveys the message that their creative ideas are still welcome.
First Published: February 16, 2018, 8:46 AM IST
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