How do you say “no” more assertively?
When someone asks you to do something which impinges on your time and takes you away from your most important goals and priorities you will need to decline politely but assertively.
Not being assertive could come across as a passive response, which leaves the requestor thinking they heard you say, ‘alright, okay, okeydokey or fine” when really you said ‘no’.
Be careful about using wimpy substitute phrases, such as “I’m not sure” or “I don’t think I can.” These can be interpreted to mean that you might say yes later. When you say no you actually mean, ‘negative, nix, certainly not, by no means, absolutely not, never, not at all, no way, hope, nah, nay, nothing doing.” Make sure this is what your requester hears. You might not necessarily say it like that but this is what you mean. Passivity means you won’t be taken seriously, whereas assertiveness leaves no doubt. But being assertive is not the same as being aggressive. Your tone of voice matters when you say no. Aggressive responses can damage relationships, so tone down and lower your voice if you don’t want your ‘no’ to come across as loud and abrasive.
Productivity Tip: Learn to say “no” assertively if you want your message to be heard unambiguously
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