Learning how to say no politely is one of those life skills that everyone should possess.
Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, just saying no to certain requests or tasks is a lot easier said than done. That being said, with a few tricks up your sleeve, the process becomes a little easier.
If you’re wondering how to say no politely, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ve listed a few tips to help you say no.
Why Is It Hard To Say No?
Let’s start with the basics - why is it hard to say no to certain people?
It can be really hard to prioritize ourselves over others, especially if it goes beyond our own needs or interests. This could be due to a few reasons.
Firstly, it might be hard to say no because we enjoy being liked or accepted - and saying yes is an easy way to gain acceptance and avoid rejection. Otherwise, it might simply be because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or offer them any rejection.
That being said, in these moments, it’s important to remember that you’re justified to say no in some circumstances - especially if it’s in your self-interest or preservation. It can be difficult to go against these social reasons, but the process comes a little easier with a few tips up your sleeve.
How To Say No Politely
Let’s dive into the nitty gritty - learn how to say no politely with these 6 basic tips below.
When learning how to say no, politely, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is be clear.
Going back and forth on your decision or keeping people waiting isn’t doing anyone any good - especially if this task is urgent. If you know that you don’t have the time to help, the best thing you can do is to be clear and concise, upfront.
If you have to say no, don’t waste any time. Tell them as soon as possible in an obvious and respectful manner.
Keep It Short
If you’re trying to tell someone ‘no’, another point you’ll need to remember is to keep it short - especially if this person can be pushy.
Initially, you might feel like you owe this person an explanation for saying no - though this isn’t always necessarily true, especially if it’s due to reasons you’d prefer to keep private.
Otherwise, if you’d prefer to give your reasons, you can be as detailed as you’d like. Just try not to give too much detail as you might give them an opening.
Use Body Language
Saying no, politely, doesn’t just involve your words - you can also use your body language to convey this message too.
Before you even speak, you can deliver a firm no by crossing your arms or pointing your toes away from them. This can send signals that your attention is on other tasks, making it much easier to deliver your answer.
That being said, if you’re using body language to say no, try to make it subtle - overdoing it might seem rude or leave a bad taste.
Stick To Your Guns
Staying firm and not wavering on your answer is one of the hardest things to do when saying no to someone.
Especially if the other person can be quite manipulative, it can be really difficult to say no to them - regardless if you genuinely don’t have time or the capacity to help.
These moments will test you, though you’ll need to stick to your guns. Try explaining that your other work will suffer if you take on additional tasks, or try offering them an alternative option to get them off your back.
Offer An Alternative
Offering a helpful alternative to solve someone’s problem can be a great way to divert their attention without seeming rude or insincere.
Try introducing them to another coworker that might be able to help instead or suggest another time for them to come back and speak with you.
Taking an interest and genuinely trying to solve their problem won’t make you look like the bad guy and won’t ‘close the door’ for future opportunities to work together.
When learning how to say no, you’ll need to remember to approach the situation with a level head and polite attitude - especially if you don’t want to burn any bridges.
To achieve this, you’ll need to be compassionate and understanding of their situation - try not to feed them an abrupt, short response. Instead, try to offer suggestions or real advice to help them out - without compromising your initial answer.
This might feel like a tightrope walk, though with a bit of practice, it’ll become a little easier each time.