Up next in Office Survival Guide (57 videos)
Between crazy bosses and creepy coworkers, it's a wonder you get any work done at all. Here's a little help.
You Will Need
- A good reason
- An olive branch
Begin your “no” with “yes”
Frame your responses so that the first word your boss hears is 'yes,' not 'no.' For example, 'Yes, I'd love to be a part of that project. Unfortunately, another client is taking up all my time.'
Watch your body language
Let your body language help convey the message of 'yes' even when you're saying 'no.' Keep your arms loose and open, and angle your body and feet toward your boss so you come across as pleasant and sincere, not annoyed and defensive.
Have a good reason
Come up with a good reason why it's in the boss's best interest to let you decline, like there is a specific project or duty that will suffer if you take this on.
Offer an alternative
If no one cares that you're swamped, move to Plan B. Offer a specific alternative, like having an up-and-coming colleague take the reins, with you overseeing.
Take the sting out of your refusal by following up with a concession: 'I'm really sorry that it's not possible for me to stay late tonight. But I'll cancel my plans for the rest of the week to see that this gets done.' Who can be angry at that?