7 Ways To Say ‘No’ Without Saying ‘No’

NoI’ve worked with and for many types of personalities over the years, and with each new personality generally comes with its own set of challenges. As I interact with others I do my best to adjust my personal reactions to meet their needs, especially when it comes to members of management. Don’t get me wrong, I am still me, I just change how I address them, how I answer questions, and how I broach certain topics. Through proper workplace communication we can increase our own productivity without taking on too much.

At first, I thought that the personality types that don’t like to hear the word ‘No’ were a bit intimidating and demanding and really put me off with their personalities. However, over the years I learned that they are usually weren’t that intimidating, just maybe a bit demanding. But, that’s okay when it comes to growing a business – knowing what needs to happen, no matter how it happens.

When working with these personality types, I like to find new ways to say ‘No’ without actually using the word. Sometimes, if you tell a supervisor ‘No’ you can seem as if you are being subordinate when you really aren’t meaning to. Using alternative words and phrases will help ensure you aren’t viewed as being subordinate, you aren’t taken advantage of and you don’t take on more than you can handle in regard to projects and tasks.

Some ways to say ‘No’ without actually saying ‘No’:

  • I’d be happy to work on that, but I’ll need some additional resources.
  • I appreciate that you thought of me for this project, but I think that Jane may have additional time that she could dedicate to the project.
  • Thank you for thinking of me for additional overtime; however, I have some family obligations that I need to tend to at the moment.
  • My schedule is full until the 22nd of this month. Would you like me to put this on my priority list for that date?
  • Please allow me some time to think about your request and check my schedule to see if or where I can fit it in.
  • I’m so sorry, but I just don’t have enough time since I am working on project x and project y at the moment.
  • I am currently working on these other two projects for you; how would you like me to prioritize this new project?

Keep in mind that when you are working with a superior, coworkers, or customers, you should always be polite and appreciative. Give them an explanation of why you can’t complete a request and offer other creative solutions to get their project or task completed. And always keep it simple; don’t over-apologize for not having enough bandwidth to take on additional projects.

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