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Secrets for Saying No


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The women of Connect: Professional Women’s Network share advice for how to tactfully decline work. For more information about the Connect group on LinkedIn and to join for free, visit

Published in: Career, Business

Secrets for Saying No

  1. BROUGHT TO YOU BY The women of Connect: Professional Women’s Network share advice on how to tactfully turn people down. The Secret to Saying “No.”
  2. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK 2 I've made peace with the word "No." It affirms I have a choice and am capable of exercising that choice. We should embrace our freedom to say "No" without apology. Tara Andrews, Leadership Coach
  3. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK Redirection! For example: “This may or may not work. Let's discuss some more ideas.” Syeda Mleeha Shah, Early Childhood Education Management
  4. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK 4 Don't be afraid to respond with a polite but firm "no.” No amount of softening our response is going to make it palatable to some recipients. That's life, and that’s certainly business life. Heidi Lee, Chartered Valuation Surveyor
  5. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK 5 I advocate removing the word "No" from your service vocabulary and replace it with "Unfortunately...” Then give a reason why. "Unfortunately, we are unable to because of... our guidelines, your safety, confidentiality, etc. Rita Suiter, Customer Service Coach
  6. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK 6 No is an entire sentence, but not the end of the conversation. Bringing empathy to this makes it easier to speak your truth and 'own your no'. You probably already know someone who says no kindly who people still adore. Dina Eisenberg, Communication and Conflict Coach
  7. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK 7 The following that has served me in the past: "Thanks for thinking of me; however this is not aligned with where I need to be. Let me know how I can help in other ways.” Bernadette Johnson, Collaboration Strategist
  8. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK The last thing anyone wants is an unclear message. I quickly assess the situation and determine whether a tactful no is okay or if a firm but polite no is necessary. Some people will never hear the tactful no, so one must be clear on what is needed. Charla White, Event Coordinator
  9. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK 9 If it doesn't fall into my role, I point the person to someone that may help. If I don't have the time, I respond, "Thanks for your confidence in my skills/knowledge base, but my current role has me tied up." I try to provide them with names of people that may be interested in the project. Lori Huckins, Rail Fleet Specialist
  10. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK 10 When we say NO, people stop listening. I prefer to jump past the negative and use "This is what I CAN do for you.” Becky McCrary, Professional Speaker and Author
  11. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK 11 Seven ways to say "no" from No: "Yes, I'd love to participate, and I'm going to have to decline." No with help: "I love that you thought of me, and I'm unable to participate. How can I help you find someone else?" No with appreciation: "I think your idea is fabulous, and I'm not able to participate at this time." No and yes: "Yes, I'd love to participate, but at a later date. Can you ask me again in January? No with specific yes: "I'd love to help you with your project, and I'm on a deadline until Tuesday. Can we meet on Wednesday?" No when you don't know: "Sounds interesting. I need to sleep on that" OR “I need to check with my boss/partner.” No with values: If I take on another task right now, I wouldn't be honoring my commitment to my [family] [work] [business].
  12. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 12 Join the conversation! Connect: Professional Women’s Network, Powered by Citi, is an online community on LinkedIn that helps women achieve the careers they want and discuss the issues relevant to their success. For more great insights from Connect members, check out the discussion: How Do You Say No? Visit for more information and to join the group for free! PHOTO CREDITS: Slide 4: The White House/Flickr
  13. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S NETWORK©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 13