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The Art of Saying "No"

November 27, 2012 by Jeff James, Vice President & General Manager, Disney Institute

Movies have been made about saying “yes.” It’s what we like to hear, ourselves. It has positive connotations. It often translates into agreement, progress and perceived success.

So, it’s no secret that saying “no” can be a challenge.

How do you say no to a late night phone call from your mother? Or to a client who is not willing to pay for project requests outside the scope of work? In short, you don’t have to.

1. Take your time. Resist the pressure to respond immediately. Give yourself some time to weigh the pros and cons of the situation and, consider how saying yes will affect your goals.
2. Consider your alternatives. Sometimes we say “yes” to be nice without considering our own priorities and boundaries. “No” isn’t the end of the conversation if “but you might try…” follows it. If you may be more capable of fulfilling a request at a later time, convey that information as well.
3. Stay simple. Even if we are able to say “no,” we sometimes feel as though we owe an explanation for our decision.  Remain kind in your response and reiterate that you are doing what you feel is best for yourself or your business. If the other party continues to push, offer a brief and direct one sentence response as an explanation.

Keep track of the time you save and see how it adds up! Tell us some of your other timesaving techniques in the comments below.

photo credit: inc.com


Posted in Business Excellence | Tagged Saying No, Business Excellence | 1 Comments


1 Responses to The Art of Saying "No"

  • Jennifer says:

    on November 27, 2012

    "Yes, if..." and "Yes, and..." are (from what I understand) very Disney ways of getting the other person to say "No..." "I want live animals on my Jungle Cruise ride, fellows!" "Yes, Walt, we can do that IF ... you don't mind the extra costs of feeding and care. The vet bills. The issues with giving Guests a consistant Show using live, untamed, untrained animals. And, all the things that real live untamed, untrained animals do naturally. Like eat other animals. And make new animals. In full view of the Guests. All the Guests." "Hmm... no, I don't want that. Nevermind, no live animals on the Jungle Cruise."


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