Ways to Say 'No' More Effectively

Posted on April 4, 2014

If a person refuses to take "no" for an answer, don't give up. Repeat your polite refusal as often as necessary. Photo: flickr

Lesley Ronson Brown knew the woman on the phone asking her to serve on the board of a nonprofit was making a good point, detailing how the group would benefit from her leadership skills. Ms. Brown politely explained that she was busy with other volunteer activities and wanted to spend more time with her family.

The woman kept pleading. So Ms. Brown did the only thing she could think to do: She climbed up on the chair in her office - to feel bigger and more powerful, she says - and "practically growled" her answer. "I was trying to say 'no' in a lower-octave, tall brunette voice," says Ms. Brown, who is petite (and was blonde at the time).

One tiny word can be very hard to say.

And even when people do say "no," they become more likely to say "yes" to subsequent requests. "They feel so guilty about saying 'no,' they feel they need to salvage the relationship," says Vanessa Bohns, assistant professor of management sciences at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

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Source material from Wall Street Journal


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