Friday, 9 March 2012

Assertiveness - Confidently Saying No!

One of the most common attributes, of those that tell me they are not assertive, is the need to say yes to everything, when really they want to say NO sometimes!

I've experienced friends like this, who want to please people, but actually let you down far more by double booking, opting out at the last moment and generally causing havoc!
 It really doesn't benefit anyone to be a people-pleaser!

So learn to say No and take control of your life.

Saying “NO” and meaning it!

How can you confidently respond when someone makes a request you’d prefer not to accommodate? 

The question has just been posed.  Pause. 

Was your inclination to say yes, even though there’s a voice deep down saying “no.” If thats the case then let’s raise the volume on that inner voice. 

What possible reasons could there be for saying no?

§  It’s beyond your means?
§  It’s beyond your comfort level?
§  You're on a diet and going out will wreck it?
§  You're being taken for granted?

Identify all the reasons you have for saying “no.”  Identify which stem from a lack of confidence, versus a sincere wish to say no. 

What would happen if you said yes?  Perhaps:

§  You would be considered a teamplayer
§  It would make that person happy
§  You would be doing something outside your comfort box
§  You will be doing a good favour

Would the discomfort involved in saying yes outweigh the benefits of possibly going along with the request? Or vice-versa? Is it a favour and one that is absolutely needed right now and so No is out of the question? Would you like to be persuaded to go outside your comfort zone?

What is the cost v benefit?

The role of guilt

Saying “no” is hard for many of us. We feel so guilty and want people to like us. Instead of analysing our feelings we tend to just jump in with a Yes and worry about it all later. However being authentic, honest to self and others are values that should be held dearly if we are to be confident and contented. 

Saying “NO”

You’ve made the decision, after completely weighing the results of your cost/benefit analysis, to honestly say “NO”. 

Well, go ahead and say it clearly, and the mirror. 

Look yourself in the eye, and do it.  Just say “NO.” 

Say it like you really mean it, and then say it again as you would to whomever made the request of you.  When you pretend you’re speaking to the person who made the request, does it come out differently? 

After you say “NO”

If you’re used to giving in to others, then guess what? 

You may or many not be surprised to find that they are not willing to accept it! They may be a littel indignant and they may push, rephrase the question, or make a new, not dissimilar request. 

Be prepared for this and know your boundary—what ARE you willing to do? Work it out beforehand and, like any negotiating table, have your 'walk away point'.

Revisit the questions you asked yourself before—what would happen if you said no, or yes?

If you are serious about saying “NO” then stick to your guns. 

Tell the individual making the request that you would appreciate it if they respected your wishes, and ask them to refrain from pursuing it further. 

If you are comfortable expressing your “reasons why” then do so speaking from your personal perspective. In fact this does help to alleviate the no. Most people are very reasonable with a rejection of their request, if they understand and have empathy with the other person.

The Pause Button

Don’t forget that when anyone asks a question of you, you are perfectly OK to say, “Can I think about that and get back to you”. No-one should be pressurised into giving an immediate answer, even if the delay is only a couple of minutes. It will give you some time to think it through and to gather your thoughts.

It will give you time to analyse what you really want to do, weigh up everything and prepare the response.

What will happen when you are more assertive?

§  You will feel much more confident and proud. Your self-esteem will grow
§  You will find that practice makes perfect—the more you confidently say “NO” the easier it becomes. 
§  Others will respect your wishes and take you seriously and appreciate you more when you say Yes
§  You won’t find yourself doing things you never wanted to do in the first place. 
§  You’ll have more time to focus on the things you do want to be involved in. 
§  And so on...

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