TAP In with Tristan : 4 Ways to Politely Say “No” at Work

Tristan discusses how you can politely say no at work on this special Wednesday installment of the TAP In with Tristan. We’ve all been there, where we wanted to say no to co-workers and sometimes even our bosses, but we aren’t sure how to phrase it. Being able to say no is a skill that you must master to achieve success at work, so be sure to listen to the full tip to learn all four ways Tristan recommends!

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Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate? It’s Tristan, and I want to thank you for tapping back in with me as I provide some tips and advice for professionals. Today, let’s discuss how you can politely say no at work.

We’ve all been there, where we wanted to say no to co-workers and sometimes even our bosses, but we aren’t sure how to phrase it. Being able to say no is a skill that you must master to achieve success at work. There are times when you have to set boundaries to focus on the workload you currently have instead of piling on more. Arika Pierce, Millennial Leadership Coach at The Millennial Boardroom, provided 4 great ways to politely say “no” in a recent email that I want to share with you all.

First, “Thank you, but I’m not taking anything else on right now.” By starting with thank you, you’re being nice and respectful. The second part of the statement implies that you’ve already got your hands full which explains why you cannot take on the request. Lastly, by saying right now, you’re letting them know that it’s not because you can’t do the task, but you need to prioritize your time.

Second, “I’m not able to commit to that right now.” While this statement communicates the same thing as the previous point, it’s a bit more firm in its phrasing. You can follow up this statement with a very brief explanation of why you feel you have to say no, but be careful not to get into over-explaining.

Third, “Unfortunately, it’s not a good time.” By saying unfortunately in this statement, it acknowledges that the task presented to you is important and that you empathize with your co-worker. Here, you can follow up with an alternative option or something like, “I’ll let you know if I can help as soon as I’m done with this task.”

Lastly, “Thank you for thinking of me! I really wish I could.” This statement is a bit more enthusiastic than the others but still communicates that you know your limits. This helps your co-worker or boss not feel as bad for having their request rejected.

Look, I understand that saying no at work can be uncomfortable, believe me, that’s a common problem in the workplace. But by using these phrases, the people you work with will understand if you can’t do something at the moment, and, likely, they won’t hold it against you.

Check out more on Arika Pierce at www.themillennialboardroom.com.

Thanks for tapping in with me today! Don’t forget; I’m now taking submissions from you all on career questions, issues, concerns, or advice you think may help others! So make sure to submit yours at bit.ly/tapintristan.

This tip is brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @layfieldresume or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.

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