ninawu: It is not easy to say No

It is not easy to say No

19 May 2020 at 11:40pm
It is not easy to say No, especially if you have an important relationship with the other. One way to soften the blow of the No for them, and thus make it easier for you to say No in these circumstances, is to locate your No in time. In other words, use the magic phrase "Not now."

A customer who is asking you to develop a special technological solution to their problem will find it easier to hear "I'm sorry, but we are not able to provide this kind of solution right now" than to hear a blanket No. Similarly, an employee who is asking you for a raise will find it easier to hear "I'm sorry, but given current economic conditions, it is not possible at the present time." One employee I know who received this response felt it was effective because "I felt heard, and it left the door open to a Yes in the future."

To be sure, "Not now" does leave the door open to a future request. So if you are certain that it will never be possible for the employee to have a raise, the customer to have their technological solution, or your child to have a motorcycle, it is usually better to let them know that now. "Not now" is intended for those cases where there does exist a real possibility for addressing the other's needs in the future.

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