Saying ‘no’ the right way will save you from stressful situations at work and in life
One of the challenges in communication is saying ‘no’, when you need to. Often we commit to doing things even when we should be refusing. This leads to stress as we end up over committing, and straining ourselves to do more than we can. We then feel guilty for not keeping our word and losing credibility for not fulfilling our commitments.
The reasons behind our reluctance to say ‘no’ are plenty. In India especially, we have a vertical hierarchy in our organisations and refusing people on a higher strata is considered disrespectful and is discouraged.
However, in today’s increasingly demanding environment it is important for to develop the art of saying ‘no’ when required. But before we do this it is essential that we learn, why and how, to say ‘no’.
Before saying ‘no’ you have to be clear why you are doing it. Be clear of the consequences of refusing to perform a certain task and also why saying ‘yes’ will be inappropriate. Once clarity has been established it will give you the will to say ‘no’.
The next part is how to say no. The U-S-A method works very well here. It stands for:
Understand: It is important to express to the other person that you understand the inconvenience they will experience. If they don’t feel you understand what they are feeling, they could become frustrated, vocal and difficult. Demonstrate understanding with a sincere statement.
Situation: Explain exactly why you will have to refuse that persons request.
Action: It is acceptable to tell the person whom you are refusing, what you can and will do.
In most cases when you demonstrate empathy with an understanding statement, explain the situation, and tell the person what you can do you you will appease that person. You will be effectively and politely saying ‘no’ without causing resentment.