The Art of Saying No

Hate saying no? You may not have to.

The difficulty of saying ‘no’ is common in relationships. It’s challenging to tell someone you love or respect that you have other things you’d rather be doing. In order to protect our time, however, we may need to decline invitations that don’t fit on our calendar.

What then?

One of the best ways to avoid having to say no is simply setting up boundaries & expectations that don’t require you to utter the word. That means offering when you are available and how others might claim that time with as little intervention from you as possible.This looks different depending on who is asking. A few examples:

  • If you have clients that seem to constantly reschedule, instead, draft a 24-hour cancel policy and put it into your client agreement. That way you can refer back to the policy without having to say no. “Oh, my policy is 24-hour notice. I look forward to seeing you next time, feel free to schedule here (provide a link to a scheduler).”
  • If you have a mentor or boss that have busy schedules, and request time – identify specific time slots/days where you are available. “This is when I’m available. Does that work for you?” If not, you can put it back on them and ask when they are available on the specific days you already have blocked out for availability.
  • With family members or friends, you can simply say when you are available next to discuss or meet. In order to limit those requests, creating non-verbal signals help such as signs on the door or hands up.

We never have to say the word “no”, if we can simply provide an alternative that works better for us. It also helps to define expectations upfront either verbally or written, so we can easily refer back to them instead of having to hold the line ourselves.

Where might you need to create some expectations or alternatives that work for you? Feel free to share below.