I was speaking with my team copywriter recently. She was telling me about how she was asked to speak at an event on a topic that is relevant to neither her business nor the services she provides. The organizer of the event expected her to prepare a workshop, travel to the event, present to a group, and do all of this for free.
Not surprisingly, my writer turned this opportunity down. She admitted there was a time when she probably would have jumped at this or any other opportunity, in order to get some exposure for her business. But as happens with many entrepreneurs, eventually, we get busy and must be strategic about what we say yes to, and what we turn down.
Some people have a real problem saying no. Some of us suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), some of us are inherent people-pleasers, and some of us are simply programmed to say yes by default.
If you say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, you’re likely draining energy that could be better used elsewhere. You may also be losing money by agreeing to do things for free, when you could be earning revenue instead.
So, how do you begin to get comfortable saying no if saying no doesn’t come naturally to you?
Here are some tips for you to gradually start removing the word yes from your vocabulary:
- Get clear on your goals. If you know what your goals are, it will be easier for you to identify opportunities that make sense for you to agree to, and those that would be best to turn down.
- Make a no sandwich. If you are a habitual yesser, it may be easier for you to say no if you deliver that no sandwiched between two positives. For instance, you might say, “Thank you so much for the opportunity to _____. I’m honored you would consider me for this. However, I must decline because________.” Then, close on another positive, perhaps by suggesting someone else for the opportunity.
- Practice. Once you start getting the hang of saying no, you’ll probably find it quite liberating. Start trying it out in situations where it really is of no consequence to the other person. For instance, if someone offers you a cookie you don’t want, say no thank you. If someone tries to sell you something, decline. The more you do it, the easier it will get, because you’ll learn the world won’t stop spinning just because you’ve said no to something!
- Be okay with missing out. If your yesses are coming from the fear of missing out on opportunities, ask yourself what’s more important … your sanity, or being involved in something that doesn’t really align with your goals.
I would be curious to hear whether or not you have difficulty saying no to business opportunities that come your way. Do you have any strategies in place for helping you suppress the urge to say yes when it doesn’t serve you or your business?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about turning down business opportunities. Leave a comment, and let’s chat about it!
Also published on Medium.
In business since 1991, Terry Green is the founder/CEO/President of BizEase Support Solutions, an American-based, online marketing support company comprised of a team of talented professionals from around North America. BizEase excels at providing speakers and business coaches worldwide with seamless online marketing solutions, from setting up shopping carts and editing video, to writing blog posts and managing Social Media and PR campaigns. BizEase clients (who span five continents) take great joy in allowing the BizEase team to take care of the details so they can get back to doing what they do best! Click here to get our weekly tips ezine delivered to your inbox every other Friday, with tips on plugins, apps, and tools to make you more productive today!