In business, and in life, sometimes you just have to lớn say no. Here’s how khổng lồ bởi vì it without ruining the relationship.

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It’s one of the most powerful words in our language, và it can stop a conversation dead in its tracks. But, according lớn William Ury, Ph.D., co-founder of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation and author of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No và Still Get to Yes, it can also be a key word in strategy.

“In order to lớn get to lớn a yes that satisfies your needs và interests, it’s also necessary lớn be able lớn say no,” Ury says. In other words, sometimes you need to lớn say no khổng lồ get to lớn the right yes.

Ury says his “Yes! No. Yes?” approach can be used effectively in both business and personal relationships. It works like this:

The First “Yes”: Let’s say a client wants to lớn go with a lower-priced alternative, which you know will produce a substandard result. The first Yes! is the core value, need, or principle you’re trying lớn protect. For example, protecting the chất lượng of the brvà.

The No is a respectful no, saying, “To maintain our chất lượng standards, we cannot go with the lower priced/lower quality công trình.”

The Yes? acknowledges the ongoing relationship, và sounds lượt thích, “Let’s work together lớn create something that works within your budget but doesn’t adversely affect the chất lượng of the sản phẩm.”

You can apply this approach to lớn your personal life as well, Ury says. For example, your 16-year-old son has been staying out late. A forceful no will just cause them lớn act out, he notes. But the “Yes! No. Yes?” approach looks like this:

Yes!: “Because I’m concerned about your safety, we need to lớn set a curfew of 10 p.m.”No: “You’re not going to lớn stay out all night.”Yes?: “In a year’s time, we can make it 11 p.m.”

Regardless of your approach, Ury suggests including these three components in your conversation:

Set clear expectations at the outset.

Managing expectations is very important, Ury says. You don’t want the person you’re speaking with lớn get the wrong idea about what you’re saying. For example, if a colleague asks you to lớn stay late lớn help them with a last-minute project, start with something like, “That might be difficult. Help me understand what you need.” That way, you give them the courtesy of hearing them out, và it allows you to frame your positive no in a way that’s least damaging lớn the relationship, Ury says. You’ve also signaled khổng lồ them that what they’re asking may not be possible.

Worse than saying no is having lớn say no twice because you didn’t say it clearly enough the first time.

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While it’s tempting lớn “pad your no” to make it more palatable for the other person, “there have been a number of times when I’ve leaned too far in this direction & the person missed my point,” says Dan Cumberlvà, a Seattle-based photographer. “What’s worse than having to say ‘no’ is having to say ‘no’ twice because you didn’t say it clearly enough the first time,” he says.

Ask questions khổng lồ understvà what’s being asked of you.

Asking questions is important, too, because it helps you to lớn understand what the other person needs, Ury says. If a colleague’s asked you to lớn help on a project & you’re swamped this week, ask whether you can help them next week, refer someone else who may be able to assist, or see about getting an extension on one of the projects from your manager. Offering a constructive sầu proposal allows you khổng lồ protect your core interest (getting your work done) while being respectful of the other person’s needs, Ury says.

Listen to lớn really underst& the person’s needs.

Listening is key in any negotiation, and is more important than speaking, Ury says. You need to find out the other person’s needs, because you’re trying lớn get them to lớn accept your ‘no.’ “Listening shows respect,” Ury notes, và it helps you formulate your response based on their needs. “Saying ‘no’ is a gift lớn the other side,” Ury says. In business, và in life, we often give people mixed messages. By giving a clear, respectful ‘no’ up front, we allow them to lớn move on, he says.

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About the author

Lindsay LaVine is a Chicago-based business và lifestyle freelance writer who"s worked for NBC & CNN. Her work has appeared online in Entrepreneur.com, Reuters.com, Today.com, NBC News, MSNBC, Yahoo, Business Insider, BlogHer.com & Fox Business.




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