How to say ‘No’ without actually saying the word…

image012“It’s just two letters and one tiny syllable. It’s one of the smallest words in the English dictionary, so why do we find it so hard to say? Is it because we think that by saying ‘no’ we’re being unhelpful? Or, perhaps we feel like we’re letting someone down?

As service driven people, we strive to make someone’s day, every day. We smile, we laugh, we have fun at work, and we like to say ‘yes’.  A ‘no’ sounds so final, is rarely delivered with a smile, and this is perhaps why we avoid it. But it is also possible to say ‘yes’ too much. I once set myself the New Year’s resolution to say ‘yes’ to everything I was asked to do and I was exhausted by April!

There is power in a well delivered ‘no’ and it can rebalance busy workloads and relieve stress. A ‘no’ can be healthy from time-to-time and is just as effective as not saying ‘yes’ to everything. So here’s my suggestion – don’t say ‘no’, try something else instead… offer a solution.

By redirecting requests with a polite but alternative solution such as ‘We don’t have any involvement with x, but let me look into it and find out who does’ or ‘I am unsure who deals with that, I can check and let you know’ you will feel the benefit of additional time in your day by being helpful, service driven and honest.

But did you notice you said ‘no’ without saying it? Simples.

All you have to do is assess each situation, and if it requires a rebuff in the guise of a ‘no’ – then use it. We’re here to help in the right way and knowing how to deliver that ‘no’ without saying it, can help us do that. Our guests will be just as grateful for our help because we still lent a hand, we were honest – and our integrity is still intact.”

Emma Melbourne is a Front of House Manager for Mitie Client Services. 

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