... how to say "No" assertively
under with work. You've stayed late every night this week. Your colleague is
heading your way, clutching a pile of paperwork that you suspect they are going
to pass on to you. This happens so often, but this time you're going to say "No". You suddenly hear yourself saying, "Okay, yes, I suppose I could fit that
in before I go home". Being assertive does not necessarily mean that you would
have avoided taking on the work. What it does mean is that you would have
spoken up and been taken seriously. You would have taken the opportunity to
protect your rights without violating your colleague's rights. Your
communication takes on the form of problem solving - not winning or losing!
Why did you say "Yes"?
It's hardly surprising
that saying "No" can be difficult. Acquiescing is rewarded with praise, whereas
there is little reward for saying "No". If you're unassertive you have many
reasons for saying, "Yes". You may like to conform, be friendly, co-operative
or just desire a quieter life. However, the assertive person understands that
it is perfectly acceptable to make choices based upon their own set of
priorities, values and beliefs.
Saying "No" assertively
So how should the conversation have gone? The first thing to remember
is don't immediately say "No"! To start by saying "No" can be aggressive and
appear uncooperative. Maybe you should be dealing with that paperwork. Your
colleague also has the right to express their views. So the secret is to assess
the reasonableness of your colleague's request. Ask for more information with
open questions. Clarify exactly what is needed, when it is needed and why you
are being asked to deal with it. This is why assertiveness is not all about
you may decide that this is something that you should be dealing
Don't rush! If necessary ask for time to consider the request. "Okay, I understand what needs doing. I'll have a look at it and get back to
you in five minutes to let you know if I can do this today". If you do decide
that this is something you shouldn't be dealing with, say "No" in a simple,
direct manner. Don't make excuses, believe in your conviction
"No, I am
not going to be able to do this today. I suggest
." Move on to suggest
some alternative courses of action or a possible compromise.
there are many other situations in which you may need to be assertive and many
techniques that can be learnt. The key is to start by practising in 'safe'
situations where there's no major consequence of making mistakes
when the salesman asks you to pay upfront!
without violating your colleague's rights
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