9 Smart Strategies to Say "NO" and Why?

Learning how to say “No” is part of success, but it’s sometimes hard to understand WHY and
HOW to effectively say it.

To learn to say “No” you need to: 1) Admit it, and 2) Practice it.

Admit It!

Why do you tend to say “Yes”?!
  • Fear of losing opportunities
  • Excitement for the call of help
  • Embarrassment for turning others down
  • Willing to prove yourself

So you jump to saying “yes” simply to Please yourself or others!

Why would you sometimes regret saying “Yes”?!
  • You have limited time and resources
  • Distraction from your core mission
  • Being the “Jack of all trades, Master of none”

so simply shrinking the window of achieving what you really should do!

Practice It

With the following 9 smart strategies:

  • Well Before: Be reflective, prepared, and futuristic
  • During: Be conservative, opportunistic, and assertive.
  • After: Be authentic, creative, and empathetic.

WELL BEFORE the request comes in and the moment of thinking and deciding whether to say “yes” or “no” …

1| Be REFLECTIVE

and deeply understand what stuffs your agenda

  • What fills your schedule?
  • What makes you busy?
  • Reflect and plan your agenda

This will help you understand how much more you can take on!

2| Be PREPARED

and clarify you mission and priorities

  • Keep your mission on check
  • Don’t wait for the moment where you cannot decide
  • Have a simple qualification check for opportunities

This will prepare you to decide to (or not to) answer a request.

3| Be FUTURISTIC

and advertise your work and agenda

  • Talk about your work
  • Highlight your roles & responsibilities
  • Talk about your interests

This will help others how to approach you and for what kind of asks.


DURING the moment of request where you’re about to say “yes” or “no” …

4| Be CONSERVATIVE

and gracefully & conditionally say “yes”

  • Have it on your own terms
  • Clarify consequences on what you do now
  • Ask for resources to help you with the request

This will equip you with the needed time and resources to fulfill.

5| Be OPPORTUNISTIC

and reframe the request to serve your work

  • From a request to an opportunity
  • Realign it with your own mission and priorities
  • Exploit for your own (good) agenda

This will enable you to expand on worlds beyond your own.

6| Be ASSERTIVE

and kindly & firmly say “no”

  • When deeply sure you should say no
  • Don’t drag, but rather say it fast
  • Do it with a great attitude of assertiveness

This will help others to accept the fact and plan alternatives timely.


AFTER the moment where you’ve said “no” …

7| Be AUTHENTIC

and deeply & genuinely explain “why no”

  • Express your gratitude for being approached
  • Remind others of your mission and priorities
  • Deeply show your regret

This will help others to understand: it is “no” this time only!

8| Be CREATIVE

and give alternative solutions and channels

  • Show that you want to help
  • Channel the request to someone who can (or should!)
  • Give recommendations along the way

This will raise the odds that you will still be approached next time.

9| Be EMPATHETIC

and follow up and show that you care

  • Even if you have said NO
  • Remotely observe the requester and the request
  • Connect and check on progress

This will help you keep the bridge in case “no” was a hard answer.


REMEMBER: this is not about brutally saying “NO!”, neither about recklessly saying “YES!”

it’s about being prepared, choosing a smart answer, and having the right attitude and commitment

Happy and mindful decisions!

And here is a slideshare of the post