Have you ever wanted to answer a question with a Yes, and then second-guessed yourself? For example, your boss asks you to stay for an extra hour after work in order to complete a task. You might answer Yes straight away, as you’ve always intuitively done. Your response will be based on a variety of factors including your behavioural type, core beliefs, and life experiences. One reason you say Yes instantaneously could be because you haven’t reconciled your people-pleasing tendencies. Another reason may be because you want to be known as someone who’s always willing to help.
After a few seconds, maybe even a minute, after saying Yes, you may arrive at a very different answer when you think analytically instead of intuitively. We all have these two differing ways of thinking. Assessing what’s being asked of you logically will now have you considering, Why did I agree to do this? Now I’m going to be stuck in peak-hour traffic, I won’t be getting paid for the extra hour anyway, my boss hasn’t recognised my efforts in the past…..and a host of other valid reasons that may logically crop up.
If you are aware that you’re prone to this pitfall, here’s a sure-fire strategy which will create the necessary time to assess both ways of thinking so you can truly respond how you would like. One key strategy is to have prepared verbal responses. Write out what you would say in your next moment of indecision, and practice saying your responses aloud so that it feels natural to you when utilising this strategy. For example, “Let me check my diary and get back to you shortly.” This provides the time you’ll need to make an aligned decision. This reply is also professional, friendly, and perfectly reasonable.
Perhaps you say yes to too many future commitments, but as the start date draws near you begin to dread what you’ve already obligated yourself to, placing yourself in the awkward situation of finding excuses and ways to get out what you’d agreed to.
Techniques to buy more time so you can come to an aligned decision are:
“I will get back to you in fifteen minutes, if that’s okay?”
“If you can just give me a moment, I will check my diary and get back to you.”
“I'd love to but I am focusing on x, y, or z right now; I can take a look in my diary and get back to you later.”
Further techniques for saying No:
“No, but thanks for asking and thinking of me.”
“I won't be able to today.”
“Sorry I can’t, I’m already committed to something else.”
In the past if you’ve felt uncomfortable saying No, you’re not alone. With some practice, you can feel good about saying No, and you’ll discover how the ability to assert yourself clearly is freeing not only for yourself but often for the person you’re conversing with as well. A clear direct yet respectful response is far better than an ambivalent, wishy-washy response.
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