5 Savvy Ways to Say No ... Without Uttering the Word
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Some people just can’t take no for an answer. And other times, you can’t afford to say no to a neurotic boss that is demanding and sees the laundry list as just part of your being an awesome employee. So here are a few ways to decline, without losing your job or your sanity:

1. “I’m currently working on the Smith report, the Jones report and the Macklemore report. How would you like me to prioritize this new project?”

This particular phrase is especially helpful when dealing with a superior, who you can’t very well “Just Say No” to. Instead, show your willingness to do the work but ask for an executive recommendation on how best to balance your various obligations.

If you’ve already got several projects in your queue, ask your boss which one takes priority so you can focus on that first. If you report to several managers and they’ve given you competing projects, ask them how they’d prefer you resolve the conflict. (One of them is going to have to cede to the other if they want you to give both projects your full attention.)

The trick to this phrase is not to say it huffily or with a “woe is me” attitude. You are not complaining about how overloaded you are and whining for a way out; you are being a responsible employee and making sure you do your job to the best of your ability (while also letting your boss(es) know just how much you have on your plate).

2. “I’m all booked until [insert date here]. I can put this on my list for then if you like.”

This phrase demonstrates a willingness to help—you’re not saying no altogether—while letting the other person know your schedule is firm and you’re sticking to it.

If their project is super, building-on-fire urgent, they’ll have to ask

Read more at Brazen Careerist…

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.

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