Advice Corner

Learning To Say No


Constantly feel like a doormat? Do your superiors make unreasonable demands that you just can’t say “no” to? Then it’s time to get assertive.

noWhat is it?

¬†Assertiveness is a way of expressing your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a direct, honest, and appropriate way. An assertive person effectively influences, listens, and negotiates so that others choose to cooperate willingly. It does not mean being aggressive, nor does it mean you will get your own way all the time. But it should help prevent you being burdened with other people’s problems and responsibilities. Assert yourself

If you tend to panic, hide under your desk or fly off the handle at the first whiff of a problem, you probably need to take heed of these tips and assert yourself in the office.
Be clear about what you want to say: Make direct statements that take responsibility for what you say, i.e. use ‘I’ rather than ‘s/he’ or ‘everyone thinks.’

Get straight to the point: Don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked by colleagues or trying to soften the blow.

Be prepared to compromise: Remember that other people have rights too don’t become the office bully.

Use suitable facial expressions: Maintain good eye contact and keep your voice firm but pleasant. By keeping calm and attentive you will make the other person more ready to compromise.

Listen: Let people know you have heard what they said. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them.

Ask for time to think, if necessary: There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need time to make a decision.

Don’t apologise unless there is a good reason to do so: Don’t say ‘sorry’ merely because the other person is unlikely to be pleased with what you are saying. It is better to give reasons rather than excuses for what you want to do.

Learn to say no to unreasonable requests: Use the word “no” and offer an explanation if you choose to. Do not apologize and do not make up excuses. Paraphrase the other person’s point of view. This will let he/she know that you hear and understand the request.

Often you can get assertiveness training within the workplace or at a local evening class. Ask your boss or contact your local careers centre for more information.

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