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HOME::Time Mastery

Top 7 Tips for Saying "No!" the Nice Way

By Stephanie L. H. Calahan

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In today's fast-paced, activity rich society we are all juggling a lot of responsibilities. You believe that you are handing all of the items well and nothing is falling yet, then it happens: you are asked to take on one more thing. Contrary to popular perception, it is OK to say "No." In fact, sometimes you can be doing a favor by saying no.

Below are tips for how to say "No" the nice way:

  1. I Have Another Commitment -
    And it doesn't matter what that commitment is. It could be a meeting or a dentist appointment or a day in the park with your kid. The point is, you aren't available.

  2. I'm Really Not the Most Qualified for the Job -
    If you don't feel that you have adequate skills to take on a task, that's okay. It's better to admit your limitations up front than feel overwhelmed down the road.

  3. I Can't, But Let Me Refer You to Someone Who Can -
    If you aren't available to help out, offer another qualified resource. Professionals do this all the time when they refer a client to a colleague.

  4. I Would Rather Decline than Do a Mediocre Job -
    Knowing that you aren't able to deliver a quality product -- for whatever reason -- is reason enough for turning a request down.

  5. I'm Really Focusing More on My... -
    If you need to give more attention to another area of your life, say so. People act ashamed of wanting to spend time with their families -- like it means they don't have goals. Having a strong family is a goal in and of itself! The reverse is true also -- you may have to give up some civic or community duties to focus your energies on a work-related task (and that's fine, too!)

  6. I Really Don't Enjoy That Kind of Work -
    Who said you were supposed to enjoy your chores and assignments?! Well, if you don't enjoy them, why do them? Life isn't about drudgery and boredom.

  7. I've Learned That This Really Isn't My Strong Suit -
    Another way of admitting your limitations. Did you know that actually makes you stronger? Knowing what you can handle and what you can't is a tremendous talent!

Stephanie L. H. Calahan is the president and founder of Calahan Solutions, Inc. ( - a premier professional organizing and consulting firm, serving a national and local clientele in corporate settings, home-based businesses, and residential environments.


Article Submitted On: December 17, 2005