Four Ways to Say 'No' at Work

ways to say no Let's face it, when presented with a new project at work or opportunity to fill in for someone, we're motivated to say, "Yes!" Perhaps it's out of fear, perhaps it's for job security, but whatever the reason, saying yes actually prevents us from focusing on what we really need to accomplish. When we say yes to others, we're ultimately saying no to ourselves. Here are four tactful and assertive ways to flip it upside down and push back without telling them quite bluntly to talk to the hand.

1. Use the sandwich technique.

According to Mel Robbins, Borders Radio host and author of "Stop Saying You're Fine," this method involves starting by saying something nice. "Thank you for thinking of me," she recommends. "Then layer it with meat. 'But, I'm too busy' or 'but, until I get a full-time assistant, I can't take on anything else.'" And at the end, layer it with another thank you.

2. Repeat yourself.

Want to get consistent results so that you don't get dumped on time and time again with too much work, and so little time? "Give the same exact message," notes Robbins. If you don't and you're burned out, there's no one to blame but yourself. "Continue to have the conversation," she says. "Be proactive about setting expectations. For instance, you can say, 'Yes, but I won't be able to get it done until three weeks from now.' "

3. Say it without apologies or guilt.

Daylle Deanna Schwartz, author of "Nice Girls Can Finish First," says to be strong with your voice. If you're not, "People will use that to get you to change your mind or make it up to them at another time.... It's important to get people used to you not always being available for their needs, so you have more time for your own."

4. Say no without using the N word.

"You don't have to say, 'no' if it's uncomfortable, or defend your decision," notes Schwartz. "In a friendly but firm voice just say, 'I can't do it.' " Another way to push back is to check your workload and "then email that you can't do it."

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Don't mind helping out, but when the employee constantly uses FMLA as an excuse, it gets old really fast.

July 06 2011 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

24 hrs a day......that's all anyone gets....there has to be a limit as to how much you can stuff into one work day. I am not against the challenge or helping out when needed but when your 8hr day bleeds into your night, then into your weekend, and then into your DREAMS...then it's time to say 'no!'

July 06 2011 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When at your job why say NO, when saying YES, sounds so much better and don't forget your knee pads and plenty of chapstick lip balm... saying YES, may be hard to swallow at first,however your boss will love you for it."

July 06 2011 at 7:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mitchell's comment

Don't bet on it

July 06 2011 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crazy ray

My favorite was always, "Yeah, when pigs fly." I usually added that to the end of a ppt presentation, complete, of course, with porcine graphics. Belive it or not, I was never fired. Did bring in about $30M of business each year, however.

July 06 2011 at 7:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

1) Uh-uh
2) Nein
3) Nope
4) "not just no, but Hell No!"

July 06 2011 at 6:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Progessionals have removed these trite, ungrammatical, and sophomoric expressions from their
vocabulary; "at this point in time" (no, say "now") "think outside the box" (whose genitals do you
use for brains?) "vis-a-vis" (written, never spoken, sounds stupid) "axe" for "ask" (you in the NBA?)
"quality control" (quality is ASSURED, not controlled) and the unforgivable......"supposibly" for "supposedly" Poor grammar, pronunciation, and illogical articulation renders you a liability in the work force at all levels. Who would promote a staff member who "caint tawlk."

July 06 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I believe the author is correct. I have tried those ways, without realizing it, and it does work. But it only works if you are a good worker and get your work done on a daily basis. If you say yes all of the time, everyone will come to expect that answer. Once you put your foot down, by saying the above phrases, you will see others back down. The other thing to look at is if you increase your workload and then start making more errors than usual, this will be held against you.

July 06 2011 at 4:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Nope, the United States has become a slave nation. If you are lucky enough to have a job, you have no rights. You do what you are told, and for heaven's sake, don't act like you are having fun.

July 06 2011 at 4:27 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Saying no to the boss works if you have some pretty good dirt.

July 06 2011 at 3:04 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

haha my boss told me I can't refuse to do anything anyone gives me

July 06 2011 at 1:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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