In Part One, we discussed the importance of being able to say no to requests you truly don’t want to accept and doing so in such a way that you are kind and polite but leave no doubt that you are not accepting the request. It was suggested you make a point of lavishing appreciation for the “offer” while actually declining. An example might be:
Thank you for your kind offer. While it’s not something I choose to pursue, please know how honored I am to be asked.”
If they persist and say, “oh, c’mon; why not?” Or, “please, we really need you” all you have to do is reply with a sincere smile and say, “I’d just rather not, but thank you SO MUCH for considering me.”
The person will understand that you’re not going to accept the position, but cannot possibly be offended because of your gracious, humble and appreciative attitude.
There is a key point, however, which actually makes this work. And, that is:
Do not make an excuse for saying no.
Please, really embrace this. It’s that important. Do not make an excuse for saying no!
Please do not say, “I don’t have time” or “I’m really not qualified,” or anything similar you might be tempted to say. If you do, they’ll attempt to answer the objection and continue to try and persuade you. And, when they overcome the objection(s) you’ll either be cornered into accepting (so that you don’t appear to be a liar) or you’ll have to “admit” that what you said wasn’t really true. You’ll lose face and they’ll resent you.
Don’t get sucked into that game. A simple answer such as the one we used earlier along with a genuine smile will accomplish your goal. That, and…no excuses.
Will this work every time? Actually, yes, so long as you maintain your polite, thankful, yet steady posture of “no thank you.”
Bonus: Once you begin training people (even those who are used to your giving in) that you are able to say no and not be bullied, coerced or guilted into doing something you don’t want to do, you will find that, from now on, all it will take is one “no” per request to not be asked again.