How to say no – Shari Harley

How to say no

Saying no is difficult. We don’t want to disappoint or disappoint people. Still, you can’t say yes to everything. You can say no and still seem like a responsible, easy-to-work, and accommodating professional.

Here are four ways to say no:

Thank the person for asking. “Thank you for asking me.”

1. Saying “thank you” acknowledges the other person and buys you time to think about their request.

2. Tell the person that you need time to think about the request. Ask, “Can I have a few days to think about it? I’ll get back to you by Friday.”

You don’t need to answer at this time. I often regret things I agree on without thinking deeply about the request.

3. Consider what you really want and are willing to do. It is far worse to over-commit and provide less than simply saying no or renegotiating requests.

4. Reply to the person in a timely manner (when you said you would) and tell them what you are willing to do.

How to say no option one: Just say no.

Example: “I really appreciate that you asked me to write the proposal for the __________ RFP. I am unable to do this. Can I recommend someone else who has the skills and will do a great job? “

Don’t give a lot of reasons to say no. People are not interested in why we can or cannot do something. They just want to know if we will.

How to say no Option two: Agree and negotiate the time frame.

Example: “I would be happy to do it. I can’t do it before the last week of the month. Would this work for you? “If the answer is no, negotiate further. Ask,” When do you really need it? I can certainly make pieces by then, but not the whole. Since I can’t stick to your timeline, who else can work on this in tandem or for me?

How to say no Option three: Say no to the request but say what you can do.

Example: “I can’t do _______. But I can do ________. How would it work? “

A review on how to say no:

  1. Confirm the request by replying to the applicant within 24 hours.
  2. Give yourself time to think and respond to requests.
  3. Negotiate requests to the satisfaction of you and the applicant.
  4. Agree on what you can and are willing to do.
  5. Keep your commitments.

Saying no is always difficult. But it is always better to say no than to ignore the requests, or to say yes and do nothing.

like saying no to work

About Shari Harley

Shari Harley is the founder and president of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training company that is bringing back candor to the workplace by making it easier to give feedback on the job. Shari is the author of the book on corporate communication How to Tell Anyone Anything: A Guide to Building Business Relationships That Really Work. He is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training in the United States. Learn more about Shari Harley’s training programs and Candid Culture at

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