Am in writing and promotion workshops for women faculty members all week and one of the participants shared this list of ways to say no to additional work you’re asked to do (and we should all keep in mind how lucky we are to be able to say no). So thank you, Jocelyn!
Nine Creative Ways to Say “No”
Below you’ll find specific language to support you in saying “no.” Most people find that the more they say “no,” the easier it becomes say “yes” to those things that really matter.
(1) Just No: “Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.” (Say it, then shut up.)
(2) The Gracious No: “I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.”
(3) The “I’m Sorry” No: “I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now.”
(4) The “It’s Someone Else’s Decision” No: “I promised my coach (therapist, husband, etc.) I wouldn’t take on any more projects right now. I’m working on creating more balance in my life.”
(5) The “My Family is the Reason” No: “Thanks so much for the invite, that’s the day of my son’s soccer game, and I never miss those.”
(6) The “I Know Someone Else” No: “I just don’t have time right now. Let me recommend someone who may be able to help you.”
(7) The “I’m Already Booked” No: “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day.”
(8) The “Setting Boundaries” No: “Let me tell you what I can do …” Then limit the commitment to what will be comfortable for you.
(9) The “Not No, But Not Yes” No: “Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.”
(This list is adapted in part from Work Less, Make More—Stop Working So Hard and Create the Life You Really Want, by Jennifer White.)