Tuesday, March 31, 2009


"No" is such a simple word....

It comprises only two letters. Yet saying "No" out loud is harder for most people
than saying, "I'll be glad to..." (eleven letters)or "When do you need me
to..." (seventeen letters)

Most of us said, "No!" quite well when we were two. After all, it's the joy of a
two-year-old to say "No." The authority figures in our lives at
the time, our parents, expect us to say "No". And it is because of "No" that the year is known as the Terrible Two's.

Sadly, many of us grow up to be people pleasers. The word "No" drops out of
our vocabulary, and we substitute lots of ways to be agreeable and keep
the other person happy. Saying "No" to the authority figures is not
expected. And underneath it all we believe that saying "No" can cost us a
lot in our adult life.

In my work, I have had to say 'No' in a few ways.

The unassertive "No" is accompanied by weak excuses and rationalizations. If you lack confidence when you say "No" you may think that you need to support your "No" with lots of reasons to convince the other person that you mean it.

You might even make up an excuse to support your "No." This can
backfire if the lie is exposed and again, you will sound ineffective because
you need to have an excuse to support your stand.

Then there is the aggressive "No" which is done with contempt. "Are you kidding? Me, give you an extension to the assignment deadline?"

Sometimes the aggressive "No" includes an attack on the person making
the request. "You must be crazy. I couldn't take on a project that

Let us not forget the assertive "No" which is simple and direct. "No, I won't be able to help with that." If you would like to offer an explanation, make it short and simple. "No, I won't be able to help with that. I've already made a commitment for Friday

How can we make it easier to say an assertive "No"?

1. When someone makes a request, it is always OK to *ASK FOR TIME TO
THINK IT OVER*. In thinking it over, remind yourself that the decision is
entirely up to you.

2. Use your nonverbal assertiveness to underline the "No." Make sure
that your voice is firm and direct. Look into the person's eyes as you
say, "No." Shake your head "No," as you say, "No."

3. Remember that "No," is an honorable response. If you decide that
"No," is the answer that you prefer to give, then it is authentic and
honest for you to say, "No."

4. If you say, "Yes," when you want to say, "No," you will feel
resentful throughout whatever you agreed to do. This costs you energy and
discomfort and is not necessary if you just say, "No" when you need to.

5. If you are saying, "No," to someone whom you would help under
different circumstances, use an empathic response to ease the rejection. For
example, to your friend who needs you to keep her child while she goes
to the doctor, you might say, "No, Susie, I can't keep Billie for you.
I know it must be hard for you to find someone at that time of day, but
I have already made lunch plans and I won't be able to help you.

6. Start your sentence with the word, "No." It's easier to keep the
commitment to say, "No," if it's the first word out of your mouth.

We can say "No" in a few ways:

to the clerk who wants to write your phone number down
when you return something to the store;
to the telemarketer who disturbs your dinner;
to the perfume demonstrator at the department store;
to your friend's pets when they jump on you;
to the secretary who answers the phone and asks if you mind if she puts
you on hold.

Make it a project to say, "No," to something every day.

When you do, notice it and give yourself credit for practicing saying
such an important two letter word.

Then you would have begun to be a real and honest person who speaks from your heart.

Yes? No?

What sayest thou?


Dear blog reader,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog regularly and for subscribing to my feed.

Actually, I had two feeds for this blog and I cannot recover my password to the original feed because I deleted my email address when my blogs were hacked in January this year.

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Tranquility said...

No, I don't buy that.
Er Yes.. ok - lah

masterwordsmith said...

Haha, Tranquility...That is such a cool comment.


Anonymous said...

Your blogs were hacked in Jan? Oh dear me!

masterwordsmith said...

Hi Andrea,

Yup but it is ok now. I learnt a lot from that experience and the other events before that too :-).

Take care and have a lovely evening...