A reflective No

Returning to confident communication and saying no. A variation on “broken record” is to add a reflection on what the person has said, before saying no in a firm way. It shows you are listening to the person, empathizing with them, but without being apologetic say no.

So if at the request from a colleague is to work a shift for them (using the same dialogue from “broken record“), you reply:-

“No, I can’t work that day”

“But I really need someone to cover for me”

“I know you want to go away that day, but I can’t work that day” (reflection)

“I’ve asked everyone else, you’re the only one who can help”

“I appreciate everyone else is doing the same thing, but I can’t work that day” (reflection)

“Why not, you usually can help me out?”

“I agree, I have helped you out a lot in the past, but I can’t work that day” (reflection)

This technique is not about making up excuses and avoiding taking responsibility by deflecting the no onto someone else (“I’m really sorry, I would be happy to help you, but wife is taking me shopping that day and thats the only day we can do that. I’m sorry to let you down, any other time I’m sure I could….”)

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