How to Say “No” without Feeling Guilty

During the 2018 Accelerate! Conference & Expo, attendees experienced many opportunities to network and share challenges and best practices with one another. One of them being during the lunch roundtable discussions. Attendees shared ideas and experiences with other professionals who have a common interest in a specific topic of their choosing. The Opening Keynote speaker, Lois Barth, led one of these roundtable discussions and here are the 4 top gems that she has strung together from their lunch discussion:

1. Know and Honor Your Priorities - Understand and honor what your priorities are personally and professionally. Then saying “No” is about efficiency and alignment rather than a rejection. 

2. Empower don’t Enable - One person shared by not getting back to her team member immediately encouraged them to find the answer themselves, getting a “thank you,” in the process. Saying “No” or “Not now” can empower your team to take more ownership.

3. Ask Thought Provoking Questions - It’s about getting curious, not combative. If your supervisor asks you to take on a project that may derail you from your goals, ask a few clarifying questions to gain more insights and open up the dialogue. One senior-level leader asked her boss a few questions out of curiosity, “What information are you hoping to gain from this report?” “How will this chart lead us to fill our pipeline?” When they discussed it further, he smiled and thanked her for being his second set of eyes to keep the company’s goals on track.  

4. Take an “I’ll get back to you on that” moment - Chronic “we need it done yesterday,” requests takes places all the time. Most of us have a reactive vs. proactive response. If you see your impulse meter going off the chart, take a moment. Stop. Simply say, “I’m just in the middle of something. Let me get back to you in 5 minutes,” take a few deep breaths and think it through.

One of my favorite LOIS-isms is, “Know your NO, so you can bless your YES.” The more we learn what the “No’s,” in our life are; the more we can say “Yes,” to ourselves and our dreams. 

How I can help you to do that? [email protected]

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