Learning to say no is an ongoing concerted effort for me. I'm completely non-confrontational. But I've been working on getting better at being bold and firm. I have to remind myself that it's not only better for me (and my time management, my goals, and my mental well being) but that it also better for the person asking something of me. If I'm not excited about it, or if I don't feel like I'm the best for the job, it's better for me to send them on to someone who will be excited and ready for whatever they are asking. Here's my top 15 (mostly moderately classy) ways to say NO...
1. Unfortunately I am unavailable at that time.
2. I've got a lot on my plate, and I wouldn't want to give you any less than my best.
3. We could do that. Or… we could get ice cream instead.
4. Your excessive use of exclamation points in your email frightens me.
5. I can't talk about this until after I've had two cups of coffee.
6. I'll have my people call your people.
7. For the low, low price of one billion dollars… maybe.
8. I no longer work for free- the electricity company has a pesky habit of demanding to get paid monthly.
9. I no longer take on projects that cause my soul to wither up and die.
10. That's not really my thing.
11. My assistant handles my project management. What do you mean I don't have an assistant?
12. You should talk to *insert talented other person*, I'll hook you guys up.
13. Thanks for asking but no.
14. I can't believe you asked me that, no.