“No” seems to be the hardest word

What is it with saying No to someone that scares some people? Is it the negativity of the word? Is it the horror that said person or worse client will never speak to you again. After a conversation with one of my colleagues I was amazed that he had agreed to a deadline that was totally unachievable. He knew he wasn’t going to hit it and worse so did the client. This got me thinking, when are the reasons for us to say No or if that’s too harsh for you we can say…maybe later.


1. For the sake of your wallet

a. An obvious one I feel but how often are you finding yourself in the position that the deal is not good for you. Early on I was taught by a very good manager that if the business deal isn’t right for you the company then we have to walk away. When I first started in recruitment this scared me because “You had to do the deal” what I realised, (not too quickly to be honest) that saying No didn’t turn the client off and having the hard conversation actually elevated the position. It brought respect from them. In other words don’t just take a deal for the sake of doing a deal. Your business has to come first. If the client is right for you then they will see the value in your offering.


2. For the sake of your time

a. Or as I like to call it “invisible money” Time is crucial in this day and age. I have seen this over and over that by not saying No that a project or small task ends up dwarfing your core activities. Recently I went to the Recruitment Expo and listened to a brilliant talk by Amanda Daniels at Koogar Marketing. Amanda explained that many people don’t stop and “take a knee” if you have seen the film After Earth that reference will make sense. If not well in the film Will Smiths son is a tad hot headed and Will has to remind him to “Take a Knee” or take a moment or as I like to say it. STOP AND THINK! If saying No or even hang on a minute gives you the time to fully appreciate the task the deal the whatever then we should be saying No more often to save our already valuable time.


3. For the sake of your own Sanity

a. We have all been here, you seen that request for another meeting about the same subject that you have spoken about 4 meetings ago but nothing has changed. Sometimes it is a case that you need to be firm and say no we have discussed this. It will bring a sharp focus to your audience. I usual find that the meeting hoovers (people who spend the life in meetings for meetings sake) love these types of subjects.


Of course with any of the above you have to make sure you say no, push back in your own style. If you have always said yes in the past, expect some resistance, expect people to be surprised by it. The main thing to do though is to explain why you are saying no. When people understand the reasoning they are far less likely to leave you disappointed.



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