In my last post, which many people seemed to find useful, we looked at some sticky situations where people often find it hard to say ‘no’. As promised, here are some more.
Situation 4: A colleague or friend asks you for money that you don’t want to give
Let’s face it—people ask you for money, a lot. It might be a fundraiser for a school, or a medical research charity; it might be for sponsoring an orphan, or for sheltering the homeless. Most times you are asked for money it’s for a good cause, but it’s not possible to support everything. And there are times when you have your own, legitimate uses for your money.
The problem: A friend wants you to buy chocolates to support their son’s fundraising for an animal rescue charity. You often donate money to good causes, but just last month you donated for her daughter’s school, and the month before that it was for the son’s swimming squad. It’s all just become rather too much, and you’re trying to save for a holiday.
What to write: This is an ideal opportunity to highlight how much you give to good causes. Put the blame on another good cause.
- I think it’s wonderful that your children are so involved in the community and give their time and effort to fundraising. And animal rescue is such a good cause. It’s a shame though because I’ve just donated my charity budget to (put the name of your favourite cause here). Please pass on my best wishes to your son.
Situation 5: Your boss wants you to take on an extra task, and you don’t feel you have the time
Saying ‘no’ to your boss can be difficult, but there are times when it’s necessary. I’m not talking about a boss asking you to do something that is your responsibility anyway. Here I’m talking about those times when the boss wants you to do something extra. Often you will want to say ‘yes’ to these opportunities, but there will be times when you just have too much on your plate and you can’t take on the extra load.
The problem: Your boss asks you to collate the sales figures for the department for the quarter. You are already working on some new promotional campaigns, and you’ve recently volunteered to join the company’s CSR committee. Your really don’t have the time, or the inclination, to take on what is essentially a routine task that’s not going to build your skills.
What to write:
- Thanks so much for thinking of me for this opportunity. I’m sorry but, on this occasion, I really have to say ‘no’. As you know I’m working on the new promotional campaigns and I believe that this is a better use of my time. I know the sales figures are important, but I need to focus on the more important task right now. If you want me to do them next quarter, let me know and I can schedule my work around them. That said, I think it would be really useful for (insert name here) to work on the sales figures because he’s new to the department and it will help him understand the big picture.
Situation 6: There’s a vendor you really don’t want to work with
Sometimes in business we meet people that we don’t enjoy working with. They may be too pushy, or they may be providing a product or service you don’t need.
The situation: In your last job you organised staff training and an annoying stress management trainer used to cause you more stress with their constant follow-up phone calls and emails than they would ever be able to manage away. His programmes were expensive—way beyond the organisation’s budget—and, after attending a taster session, you were not convinced that they were value for money. You’ve moved to a different company and he’s found your new details. He wants you to set up a sales meeting for him with your new company’s training department.
What to write:
- Joe, it’s great to hear from you. I’m still getting a feel for how things work here but, from what I can see, the company already contracts with a training company that covers all aspects of their training needs. Best of luck to you in the future.
Situation 7: An event you don’t want to attend
There may be a hundred reasons why you don’t want to attend a social event. If you’re an introvert, you probably find such events tiring. Or you may have recently stopped drinking and the last thing you want to do is be in a place where you’ll be tempted. If you go, you may resist the temptation, but is it really fun to be out with a group of people that you know will be drinking heavily? Maybe you have a prior family commitment. Or you may just not want to go!
The situation: It’s your colleague’s birthday and everyone is going for drinks after work. They then plan to head to a cheap restaurant for dinner followed by a bit of a bar crawl for the rest of the evening. You want to maintain a good relationship with your colleague though.
What to write: This is a tricky one … you don’t want to lie, but most people don’t accept the ‘I really don’t want to’ line … so you may need to be a little creative.
- So sorry I’m going to miss this, but it’s my aunt’s birthday today too and I have to go to the family celebration. They’ll be mad if I don’t. How about we get together for a quiet coffee and a chat next week? Have a great time.