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What does it take to say a simple “No, thank you”?

A lot of courage, it would appear. For many people, saying no is a matter of losing out on an opportunity to gain precious approval – even if the person on the other side is a complete stranger. For others, it is a matter of cowering down, because they do not know if they deserve better – or if they can get any better even if they tried. So basically, if we were to break it down into one neat ingredient, this is what goes into the recipe: insecurity.

┬áThat’s true. Insecurity is the simple answer to life’s many questions. But these are the situations in which I learnt to say No: (yes, it worked!)

1. Pay: This would usually put me in a spot. In order to avoid potential unpleasantness, I would instantly say yes to whatever was being offered to me for a job. But life has taught me otherwise, and today, I smile and stick to whatever I have put across as my per hour/per word rate! And surprise, surprise – people do not say no!

2. Hours: As a freelancer, many clients try to bull doze their way and ask me to come over to the office twice a week. My way of saying No to this has evolved in a simple step: I make my position clear right from the start by explaining that I will be a lot more productive without the transport and travel time (which I can spend by churning out extra content).

3. Contract: When it comes to work – any work – it is important to have things down in black and white. I now insist on a contract, signed by both parties. And when someone says, “later – I am in a hurry for this work”, I usually ensure I send them work that cannot be copied (pdf files, etc), until the contract is in front of me.

4. Enthusiasm: Sometimes, it is important not to jump the gun and volunteer to do work that is out of the purview of what you signed the contract for. So, if I see that a small side task like marketing needs to be taken care of while I develop the content – I let the marketing department know (with a CC to the boss), instead of rubbing my hands and jumping up and down with glee at the prospect of making a dent of an impression with the extra work (which usually never happens anyways).

5. Be Clear: Always be clear about your deliverables, timelines and other aspects before you start out. Manage expectations from both ends – not just your boss or clients’. Give people a realistic picture from the get go to avoid saying No later and letting them down.

Respect does not comes from saying a mindless YES to everything – respect comes from saying NO to what you cannot do. That way, when you do say YES, it will be respected.

About the author

Devangini Mahapatra

Devangini Mahapatra

Devangini Mahapatra is the founder of And All Publishing that launches authors and bloggers. Her forte remains content and optimisation along with end to end campaign creation. This award winning authorpreneur frequently writes about branding in the digital age! She is also the Editor in Chief of Thought Leadership Strategy and Communication setup, Worbose Communications.

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