As a business coach and mentor, working in the Midlands and London, I am often coaching business owners and directors to have more time and have more control over their lives.
A huge amount of this is about saying “NO” to requests. This article by Thomas Leonard talks about nine different types of “NO” and some of these could be just what you are looking for:
After reading this tip sheet, you will:
- have a good understanding about nine different types of “NO”
- understand that there are many ways of saying “NO”
- create more time for yourself by saying “NO”
- make yourself think about your behaviours and discover why your saying “YES” to so much
- have different ways of saying “NO” especially the Feedback Sandwich
Saying No - Thomas Leonard, Coachville and my own learnings….
Without doubt, the number one reason people seek out confidence coaching, is to enable them to be better able to say NO, without worrying about the reaction of others. Being able to say NO isn't always easy. However what may not be known, is that there is more than one 'level' of saying NO. There are at least nine.
You may be a person, who finds it difficult to say NO. But it may be that it's only difficult to be able to say a particular level of NO. As you look through the different levels of NO, you may recognise that you are stronger at one level that another and that you need to develop a NO power in one particular area. Knowing this in itself, can be immediately strengthening…but if possible evaporate the request before it arrives….
‘Before you ask please keep it brief because I only have two minutes before I am due at a meeting / I am up to my eyes preparing a report.. this lays out your position before the request arrives’
Nine different "NO's" - you choose the one you need for different situations...
1 - The Feedback Sandwich or Explanatory NO
This is a NO with explanation. This comes from ensuring that someone understands your reasoning for saying NO and thus is in a better position to respond positively to it. It also means that the ‘requester’ hears Yes, No, Yes plus a solution. It also helps you reduce your workload. So, some explanatory NO's would be:
- ‘I would really love to be able to help but just cannot help you right now … I could help tomorrow, next week, month… if you want it done now why don’t you try so and so… I know they would be able to... - saying NO to a helping a colleague
- ‘I have a challenge with this… your request changes the priorities… if you want me to do this now you will need to rearrange the order that I do your other requests in … - saying NO to a boss who is heaping on more items on to your plate…
- 'I am not able to speak right now, because I want to spend time with the children'.
- ‘I am not able to take on more work, because I am already
- behind with existing tasks'.
'I am not going out to the pub, because I promised myself a quiet evening in'.
The roots of this NO are in your principles, work load, area of responsibilities and values, but have their expression in explanation. The explanation ensures that the receiver understands why you are saying it…or at least will reconsider the situation. The other aspect is that it provides the possibility for both of you to develop new perspectives to finding a solution.
2 - The Simple Factual NO
An example of this is: •
- ' NO - I don't want sauce on my pie' •
- ' NO - I don't want to watch pro-celebrity golf' •
- ' NO - I am not tired'
These are NO's really based on statement of fact. No explanation or justification is called for.
No one is affected by this NO.
3 - The Self-Preservation NO
This comes from the desire to ensure that you come to no harm. Such as:
- Not walking through a rough part of town wearing conspicuous jewellery.
- Not allowing a difficult conversation to get drawn into a heated argument.
- Moving seats on the train if you happen to be sitting next to someone who insists on having a mobile phone call at the top of their voice, right next to you.
4 - The Principled NO
Coming out from not wanting to corrupt one's values and principles.
A sense of right and wrong prevails here:
- 'NO - I won't accept money to throw the game'
- 'NO - I won't gossip about colleagues behind their backs'
- 'NO - I won't buy cheap stolen goods from the man next door'
5 - The Instinctive NO
Coming from an instinctive or gut feeling about something without full explanation. Trusting oneself without fully knowing why:
A positive example of the instinctive NO is the story of the man who was employed at the World Trade Centre. On the morning of September 11th, he had a very strong feeling not to go into work that morning, so called in sick.
A negative example of the instinctive NO was the story of the lady who was attending a conference. During the break there was a buffet lunch. As she was piling food on to her plate, she thought that the ham looked nice.
However, she had a thought that perhaps it might give her food poisoning. Another thought then said, 'No don't be silly. It looks fine'. So she ate the ham. It tasted nice. She then had an upset stomach for three days! Very often it is only after these instinctive NO's that we discover fully why we said NO.
6 - The Vigilant NO
This comes from an overview to curtail danger or threat before it arises.
- Having a cat in a house to keep out mice.
- An old lady who may have a big dog with a large bark to create safety
- in her house.
- Creating a Neighbourhood Watch to prevent burglary
7 - The Defiant NO
This can be a very resistant NO that comes from extra moral strength.
A friend of mine recently bought a leather jacket from London's West End shopping district. After only two weeks, her leather jacket fell apart. She took it back to the shop, but the staff basically said that she couldn't have her money back.
However, refusing to take NO for an answer, she defiantly stood there and demanded to see the manager. She took the position that she would not leave the shop until her money was refunded. The manager came to see her, and again initially refused to provide a refund. However, she would not yield to the manager and basically, in despair, the manager gave her the refund. The strength of her NO was stronger than the NO of the shop!
8 - The Honest NO
Telling it like it is. Sarah saw some shoes in a shoe shop that looked nice, so she went in to try them on. They were a size too large, so the shop agreed
to order her a pair that would fit. The new pair arrived so Sarah went to try them on. They looked nice but somehow weren't quite comfortable.
Sarah took the shoes off and said to the assistant, 'The shoes look lovely, but they are uncomfortable. I won't be buying them'. This is an example of not being affected by the fact that someone, in this case, the shop, has made an effort to assist you.
Your NO is stronger than your emotional attachment to what someone else has said or done.
9 - The Wise NO
Where experience tells you that to say YES would lead you to unfortunate circumstances. Caroline, an artist, desperately wanted to go on a workshop that was directly connected to the creative work that she does.
However, the week before the workshop, Caroline's car blew up and at the same time her mother was sick and needed help. Caroline had to weigh up in her mind between the enhancement of the workshop and the demands of her week. She decided to say NO to the workshop, because she felt that she would not be able to offer any constructive input, because of the demands of her week.
Six months later, Caroline went to the following workshop, and realised that she had made a wise decision previously, as the workshop was so very demanding.
Having seen this list of NO's, which area of NO are you weakest in? Can you build up your NO power, by focusing on a different level of NO, so that you stop worrying about the NO that you are unable to say, and gain confidence from the NO's that you are able to say. Then confidence will run from one to the other