Saying no

Some people struggle with saying no. It happens for a lot of reasons:

  • we want to please others

  • we really do want to do what we're committing to

  • we are afraid to say no

  • etc...

Here are some tips for saying no that I've found helpful:

  • Force prioritization: "If I do that, something else needs to fall off my plate. What would you like that to be?"

  • Remind them about long term effects: "If we write this code without writing our tests according to our methodology, in six months you'll regret it when we need to refactor this section of the code."

  • Clarify that you're being asked to do something you can't: "You recognize that you're asking me to make a commitment that I can't really make, correct?"

However, no matter how you sugar coat it nothing beats a plain-spoken "No, I can't or I won't do that."

Practice it. No is more difficult than yes. Especially if you're saying it to yourself. Trust me when people would rather hear "no" upfront then have you say yes and then they don't get what they wanted.