Making it easier to do great work. Hacking all things stupid.

No. Now What?

You’re going to have to say it, and hear it, a lot more!

There are amazing upsides to how interconnected we are. Amazing upsides! There are also difficult-to-manage downsides: Being overloaded, overwhelmed and over-pinged, over-emailed, over-everything’d.

It’s becoming harder and harder to stay focused one’s own work, life and priorities. The only way out of it is to say “No” more than makes you feel comfortable.

I was on the receiving end of No recently. In the process of writing my next book, Julianne Wurm was somebody I really wanted to interview. As an thought leader in education and a TED curator, I knew she’d add great insights on the future of work. For weeks, she kept saying Yes, then postponing due to this and that. Finally she realized she had to (politely, nicely) say No. Just too crazed.

Fortunately for me (…er, my ego) she followed her own advice about How to Say “No,” in a CNN blog:
1. Take your time deciding. Don’t feel obligated to respond one way or the other while under pressure
2. Get more details about the request
3. Align with your priorities. Does the request fit within YOUR top priorities?
4. Have ‘Go To’ buddies. Ask others about saying Yes or No if you need help
5. Give up the guilt (of saying No). This step is hardest for most of us

But learning how to say “No” is only half the battle.
“Ouch, I heard No.” is the other half.

What to do then?
From all those I have asked and from my own personal experience what I’ve found works best is…

A random act of kindness.

I’ve sent everyone who turned me down for interviews for my next book, a couple copies of my last books, along with a note/email thanking them for their time and consideration. Friends who have asked similar professional favors of others have sent hand-written thank you’s, product samples from their companies, tweeted their thanks, and more.

Even if you bugged people multiple times with your original request (as I often have, in attempts to break through their incoming clutter)…

What people will remember is how you treated them after they said No.

CATEGORIES: Communication, Working Smarter

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