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The Importance of Saying “NO”

The Importance of Saying “NO”

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Just say "no"

Just say “no”

In all the years I’ve been operating my own business (since 1997) one thing that’s been a consistent challenge for my coaching clients and audiences is saying “no”. I recently presented an updated program on Boundary-Setting and, of course, once again we tackled the issues around saying no. As a result, I’ve revised an article I was working on so that I can share it with audience members. Here I share part of it with you. If you’d like the complete article, please email me at and ask for the “Saying No” article.

Saying “no” enables you to say “yes” to what matters most in your life.

“No” is one the most powerful two-letter words in the English language! However, saying “no” doesn’t come naturally for most people. We are conditioned to say “yes”, be agreeable and easy to work with. If you’re one of those people who normally says “yes” when asked to do something or take responsibility for a new work project, sit on another school or church committee, become scout leader, be the baseball coach, or bake cookies for the local fundraiser or anything that will likely require more time than you realistically have available, than you need to first understand why you are prone to say yes so quickly and then learn more effective ways to say no.

We typically say yes because we:
…are afraid to say no;
…want to be liked;
…need to feel accepted;
…desire to please others;
…don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings;
…feel guilty when we say no;
…believe we can “do it all”.

If any of the reasons above describe you, saying no will undoubtedly make you feel uncomfortable or inadequate. There may be other reasons in addition to those listed, so be sure to recognize what prompts you to say yes, or avoid saying no. When you begin feeling totally overwhelmed, exhausted, resentful, and taken advantage of your attitude and productivity will likely suffer. If your life is overrun with responsibilities, jobs and commitments there’s little time left for your own tasks, fun and relaxation. One way to pare down your schedule is to get good at saying no to new commitments.

If you want more than ten super techniques to help you say no, remember to email me at!

Saying no helps reduce stress levels and gives you time for what’s really important. Even though it may be difficult, at some point you need to stand your own ground and look out for yourself, because no one else is going to look out for you if you don’t! Regardless of why you choose to say no, the keys to declining requests include:
+ maintain eye contact;
+ be firm, honest direct and convincing;
+ keep your explanation simple and succinct;
+ use a sympathetic but firm tone;
+ repeat your statement, change the subject or walk away, if necessary;
+ and, avoid making excuses (especially lengthy ones!).

Natalie Gahrmann wrote this article.

Med League provides medical expert witnesses to trial lawyers. Please call us at (908)788-8227 or contact us today to discuss your next case.

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