Eight Strategies For Politely Saying No

Eight Strategies For Politely Saying No

Sometimes you just need to say “no” to people. Maybe it’s a friend asking for a favour, and you can’t commit. Maybe it’s your boss asking if you have time for another project, and you don’t. Whatever the scenario, here are a few polite ways to turn someone down.

Photo by sboneham.

Over at LinkedIn, Wharton professor Adam Grant runs down eight different strategies for politely saying no. Here are a few highlights:

The Deferral: “I’m swamped right now, but feel free to follow up”

The Referral: “I’m not qualified to do what you’re asking, but here’s something else”

The Introduction: “This isn’t in my wheelhouse, but I know someone who might be helpful”

Which strategy you choose depends on the situation, but each of these has something in common: you’re saying no, but you’re also offering a solution. It’s not a solution you can help with, but it offers some direction for the person asking. It also tells them you respect their needs; you just can’t offer immediate help.

Grant offers five more effective ways to politely decline favours, and you can check them out in the full article below.

8 Ways to Say No Without Hurting Your Image [LinkedIn]


  • If the image you actually want is of someone who never says ‘no’ you’re digging your own pit.

    If the answer is ‘no’, say no. Then help with what advice you can.

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