say no at work tactfully by obaid75


									How to tactfully say 'no' at work
Many of us have been in a position where our boss, our co-worker, a client or customer has
asked us to do something that we know is a bad idea or a complete waste of time. More often
than not, we bite our tongues for fear of being the office Debbie Downer. But if we can save the
company from a giant public relations or financial fiasco, why shouldn't we speak up?

I asked several professionals to share their experiences and tips on how to turn a "No" into a
suitable arrangement for you and your counterpart.

Diana Booher, author of the new book "Communicate with Confidence: How to Say It Right the
First Time and Every Time," has tips on how to handle a questionable work request.

1. Start on a positive note: Remember to keep your body language and tone in check, and be
supportive of a new idea. Don't be defensive and go for the negative right away. Allow yourself
time to mull over what the person has said and see if you can accommodate it in any way.

2. Learn to say "Yes, and ...": Instead of offering up a "No" right away, go with a "Yes, and."
Then, explain how the work could be accomplished and if that means certain elements would
have to change or wait in order to complete the project or task.

3. Offer explanations: This is another time to watch your tone and body language. Explanations
shouldn't be excuses, nor should they focus solely on your lack of time or ability to get certain
tasks done. Sometimes people make unreasonable requests because they don't have a grasp of the
amount of work that goes into certain projects. Help them understand the steps and time
involved, and if that's the solution they want, how it would affect the business overall.

4. Provide alternative solutions: Focus on figuring out the other person's goal versus his course
of action. By understanding what he wants to achieve, you may be able to come up with
alternatives that are more cost-effective, timely and manageable within your workload but
provide the same results. By giving these options, you can also be seen as a valuable resource
with a vested interest in either the company you work for or the client you are working with.

5. End with goodwill: Always try to wrap up a "no" conversation with a positive, and outline
what you'll be able to achieve and the next steps or timeline of milestones. If no alternatives are
possible, offer to join future discussions or talks -- that will show that you're willing to be a
partner in upcoming projects.

It's also worth investigating the "Disney Process," which Leigh Steer, co-founder of Managing
Better People LLC, recommends. She suggests that companies use this process to uncover how
some "pipe dreams" can be achievable.

It's also good to note that regardless of the request origin -- even from your boss -- don't think
you cannot reach out to someone senior and ask for help in setting priorities or coming up with a
solution that will address everyone's needs. By keeping a list of priorities, you're able to
document the things you've been asked for but also give realistic expectations and deadlines to
those who've asked for your help on projects or tasks. Also, keeping a record of the request you
receive will hold you accountable. It can then be used to your benefit later when negotiating for a
raise or promotion.

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