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How to say ‘No’ when under pressure

Be An Active Listener, message on paper, smart phone and coffee on table

I can hear the inner groans! It’s a tough one and saying no doesn’t come naturally. We all seem to be programmed to want to be acknowledged as a nice person. Saying ‘no’ has a feeling of guilt attached to it. We feel guilty or somehow wrong in saying that negative word.

But there are ways of saying no that can be pleasant and non-confrontational. It depends on the circumstances of course, but here are a few ideas that may help to diminish the guilt and awkwardness of the situation and improve positivity. Take your time, relax, and run through the following strategies and examples in your mind … learn how to say ‘no’ when put under pressure without feeling negative.

Don’t single out the person make it more general

By generalising, you aren’t pointing the finger at just that person.

“I wish I could do that for you, however as a general rule we cannot to do it that way.”

“We sometimes get requests like this although it doesn’t fall under our company remit”

Acknowledge disappointment

Putting the person first and empathising with their feelings before looking to the future makes the negative impact of the ‘no’ a little easier.

“I appreciate it may be a disappointment for you, but we cannot meet that expectation right now, you could reapply if your circumstances change”

Say Thank You … first!

This is a positive thing that’s right up front. We all like manners and to feel appreciated.

“Thank you for applying. Unfortunately it’s not a service we can offer.”

Know your stuff

You can stand your ground and say ‘no’ if you have confidence that what you’re saying is 100% correct. Avoid the ‘I’m right’ attitude and follow up with a polite explanation.

“No, that’s incorrect. The regulations allow only twenty-eight days to respond and that time has now expired. There may be other options we can review.”

“No, I don’t want to do it that way. There is another process that’s proved to be a success so I’d prefer to give that one a go.”

Say ‘no’ with confidence and composure

Saying ‘no’ needs a certain level of composure. Be firm but polite. Maintain a polite consistent behaviour no matter how many times you have to say no or explain something. Don’t get frustrated because the customer keeps challenging back.  It may take some time before they accept that no means no.
If you face challenging situations on a regular basis and would like to know more about dealing with conflict, get in touch with us today.



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