The Deliverance of No December 19, 2011Posted by David Dirks in Communication, Confidence.
Tags: David Dirks, dirks on strategy, no, no as a strategy, the power of no
Often one of the early words (not the first of course but not far behind) in a young child’s vocabulary is the word “no”. Of course, as we age we tend to spend more time using the word “yes” and the word “no” begins to fade from our vocabulary.
We say yes to just about everything. Surely there’s plenty of times when “yes” must be deployed. Like the time you get your first big job offer or promotion early in your career (and then a few more times after that). When your future spouse asked you to marry. When your kid asks if he or she can have that special something for their birthday. When a close friend reaches out and asks you for help. When a client has a major problem and asks you if you think you can help them resolve it. These are all great times to say “yes”.
Then again, there are many times to use the word “no” in our personal and professional lives. Here are a few of my favorite times to use the word “no”:
When someone who can afford the work asks me to work for free (or next to free).
When someone I work with makes a commitment for me without consulting me first.
When someone spams me on the phone.
When some stranger approaches me for cab fare giving me a story on why they don’t have it (it’s a scam…you’d be surprised at how many people give in to it and give money to a criminal).
When your teenager thinks you owe them a car.
When the person who just sent you an email sits in front of their computer or cell phone waiting for an immediate response.
When your cell phone rings in the middle of a meeting or conversation with anyone.
When someone asks if you received their text message on your phone.
When someone asks if your interested in serving on yet another non-profit board or taking on a “fantastic” committee opportunity.
I can think of a lot of reasons to say “no” these days. The deliverance of “no” is simple. It frees you from having to wear yourself down with a plague of insistent questions or queries. It frees you from taking on responsibilities that only bog your life down and yield little to anyone. It clears the air of constant interruptions and forced ADD.
Just try it sometime. It’s quite habit forming. And you’ll learn to enjoy the sometimes jolted look on the face of the person who fully expects (and in their minds insists) you say “yes”.