Saying "No" - Management & Leadership Training

Mastering Assertiveness: Confident & Effective


Assertive Skill Development

Master assertive communication techniques to set boundaries confidently without sparking conflict.

Build Strong Relationships

Learn how to confidently say "NO" without jeopardising relationships with colleagues, and stay in control.

Leadership Enhancement

Improve leadership through goal-focused, assertiveness and EQ skills, leading to better decision-making.

Refine your communication skills by learning to harness your emotional intelligence with one of the UK's most acclaimed management training courses.

Why Choose This Training?

More Than Just A Course Of Lectures

What gets in the way of developing and holding on to new communication skills are old habits of thinking and speaking. Even if the advice is very good the reason why it rarely sticks are the mental habits people inevitably revert to, especially under pressure.

Unlearning those old habits and internalising a more effective and lasting approach to communication needs more than a short course of lectures on how to do it.

What Makes This Training Stand Out?

What makes this training stand out is the exceptional support through one-to-one coaching sessions and continuous feedback. Changing behaviour is not an easy task as old habits are hard to break.

With a 40-year track record we can help you cultivate practical skills, and build your confidence to so you can successfully navigate real-world challenges, ensuring lasting behavioural improvements.


Join thousands of participants getting results

"What I love about this course is that I didn't just learn about the topic, this course is about ME.  I'm confident I can reliably use my new skills, even when under pressure".

5 stars

A Project Manager At A Tech Company

"A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listening with empathy" and "speaking assertively"

5 stars

A Project Quality Engineer

Clients We Have Worked With

Well-known companies who have used this course again and again, over many years

  • Amgen 3
  • BBC
  • aunt bessies
  • Cargill 2
  • Heinz Logo 3
  • Civil service
  • NHS 2
  • Kelloggs Logo 2
  • IGT
  • JM 4 copy
  • Schweppes 3 logo
  • Castrol 3
  • Dewhirst 2
  • avon logo png
  • Nestle Logo
  • RSPB Logo 2022
  • Shell
  • UNHCR 3
  • unilever 2
  • BP 2
  • FBN 2

Course Summary

Training Objectives

This course is designed to helps you become more confident in saying "no" without fear of negative consequences. You will learn how to say "no" in a positive and respectful manner. You'll be able to set boundaries without jeopardising your career or your reputation. You'll learn emotional intelligence communication strategies for handling difficult conversations, and how to set a collaborative tone for moving forward after having said no. You'll be able to build and maintain strong, lasting relationships even when you say no.

Emotional Intelligence

You will learn a set of powerful emotional intelligence communication techniques so that you can manage difficult conversations, handle challenging situations, build relationships and set firm boundaries.

Transferable Skills

The goal of this training is to equip you with the tools they need to build strong, lasting relationships in your professional life, although because these skills are so transferable many clients report vast improvements in their personal relationships as well.

Develop Skills

This is a skills development rather than just a theoretical programme, so the emphasis throughout will be on you taking turn after turn, practising your skills, while receiving feedback and coaching about your effect on others.

Repeated Practice and Feedback

In your coaching sessions you will be helped to practise dealing with the kinds of situation you find challenging, again and again, until you are confident you can do it successfully.

Video Analysis

We'll combine practical, hands-on experience with video replay and analysis and discussion of the principles involved to help you gain both skills and understanding. Special attention is paid to your individual training needs, so you can practise your skills in real-life situations that you have to handle at work.

Sustained Change

That's why as well as your place in a small group, this training includes a generous amount of private and confidential one-to-one coaching sessions online, spread over several months, ensuring an exceptional level of support. This will ensure the changes you make are sustained over a longer period of time and any obstacles are overcome. Choose between online training available worldwide, or in-person face-to-face courses in the UK.

Course Dates and Price

For a list of upcoming course dates (for online coaching and face-to-face training), the locations of the next 3-day public courses in the UK and pricing Click here.

Free Initial Session

This initial coaching session serves as an introduction to the "Skills with People" course, allowing you to understand the course's relevance and effectiveness for your specific needs before committing to it.

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Assertiveness, Listening Skills & Emotional Intelligence Training

Why Is This Training Course on "Saying No" So Effective?

Say "No" with Confidence

For more than 40 years this assertiveness training course has proven to be one of the most highly acclaimed. Over the years we've had thousands of managers and professionals through our hands. Many have said it's one of the best assertiveness training courses they ever attended. We have helped our clients develop their skills so they can communicate more effectively, and succeed in both their personal and professional lives.

Investing in this training course in how to say "no" is a wise decision as it will provide you with the skills necessary to handle the inevitable demands made on you without being either rude, or a push-over. Let us help you achieve success.



Course Outcome


People feel guilty for saying no to a request or opportunity. This makes it hard to stand up for yourself

Learn an emotionally intelligent method of tuning into the other person's desire behind their request, and a powerful method of declining their request in a socially acceptable way. You'll receive plenty of feedback until you're confident what you're saying really works.

Fear of confrontation

People may be afraid of potential confrontations if they say no.

Receive one-to-one coaching and training in a small group so you can respond diplomatically when faced with confrontations. Rehearse until satisfied.

Low self-esteem

People with low self-esteem may not believe in their own worth, and say yes in order to be liked.

Learn to set boundaries, so you can prioritise work and avoid developing a reputation for being friendly but ineffective. Learn how to say "no" so that others will respect and trust you more by being clear about your commitments.


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He's now far more aware of his impact on others

Is This Training Course Right For You?

Are you sick and tired of worrying about upsetting people?

Discover the exact steps you need to take to 'say no' firmly, assertively but unaggressively, and get away with it without upsetting people


  • No longer say 'Yes' when what you really want is to say 'No'
    Develop the courage and skill to speak with integrity, so build relationships based on trust instead of fear.
  • Say 'no' when you think it's right to do so
    You'll be more honest, and win more trust.
  • Develop your confidence, skill and clarity when giving your reasons for saying 'no'
    You'll be more persuasive, and get taken more seriously.
  • Develop the ability to say 'No' with respect for the consequences for the other person
    You'll Gain acceptance more quickly, and the your relationship will not be damaged.
  • Say 'No' clearly, firmly and unambiguous
    You'll avoid being misunderstood, and they'll give up trying to pressure you sooner.
  • Say 'No' assertively without being offensive
    People will get your message, so you'll save time and energy .
  • Be tough on the issue and kind to the person
    You'll put foot down without stepping on people's toes, and influence more quickly.
  • You'll be able to prioritise sensibly
    You'll be able to fulfil the promises you make, and boost your reputation for delivering a reliable service.

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People used to be scared of him - no longer

Meet The Trainers

Audio clip (19:40 minutes)

Listen to a discussion about how to "Say No" without jeopardising your reputation and career


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What You'll Take Away From This Course

Are you a manager, leader or a professional keen to hone persuasion skills?

How to "say no" without jeopardising your reputation or damaging your relationships - a London UK management training and leadership coaching programme

  • How to assertively 'say no' firmly but unaggressively while also creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.
  • How to show empathy to make it easier for other people to accept something they don't want to hear.
  • Lots of practice saying no in a variety of situations, scenarios and relationships. Rehearse your skills over and over so you become increasingly comfortable standing up for yourself.
  • Lots of attention from a communication skills specialist offering you have plenty of feedback, guidance and support, until you can confidently master the ability to say both what you want and what you don't want without upsetting anyone - until you become really good at it.

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Now he listens before jumping to conclusions

A Practical Guide To Saying No

How emotional intelligence can help you say no without upsetting people

Why is it so hard to say no?

The reason why saying no is difficult is that it admits a clash of wills and risks confrontation. When it's a relationship we care about the fear of conflict is always hard to handle. But if we can bring those feelings into the conversation they'll help us find the courage and integrity we need. Learning to say no is easier once we've seen it work sucessfully. The power of saying no politely both in business and with family can be liberating.

How to say no firmly, assertively but un-aggressively with emotional intelligence

Here is a set of practical guidelines about how to say no that isn't rude or unprofessional. There's no need to feel guilty. Learning the art of saying no is a form of self care.

  • First, say something positive or appreciative about what you are being asked to do, and the need that prompts them to ask. When you show empathy for person who's asking you they will feel understood, it will make them less likely to push harder hoping you'll change you mind once you finally understand how important it is to them. This works best if you are able to do this with a generous spirit.
  • Then take time to register privately how you feel about doing it. You might say, “I need moment to think about how to fit it into my diary.” or, “I need a some time to check my workload”, or “I need to discuss it with ...”. This buys you time to think, and to craft your authentic honest response.
  • Then say with clarity and assertiveness how you feel and why, e.g., "I'm worried about saying yes, because it would mean letting down someone I've already given my commitment to."

Wait for their response.

  • If they press you, be firm, clear and assertive in saying no, e.g., “I'm torn. Part of me would love to be helpful, however unfortunately my decision is no because I'm worried that if I say yes to you it means saying no to someone else, and I'd feel really bad if I disappoint them."

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She now feels more confident in tackling people

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Such a Powerful Tool When Saying No?

People become irrational when their emotions are aroused. We are more successful in life and at work if we are aware of, can admit, and can talk about feelings.

However, this goes against the grain because many of us have got used to suppress feelings. Because our feelings can sometime be painful we learnt to protect ourselves (and others) by denying them with phrases like, "There, there, don't cry", "Pull yourself together", "Let's be rational - let's not get emotional". We learnt that if we express a bad feeling the worse we feel, so we learnt to stop expressing it so we can feel better.

But this is a mistake. The truth is that bottling up feelings makes us tense, defensive, unreasonable, close-minded, rigid and inhibited. The more we are able to can admit and express feelings and let off steam the more we are able to be relaxed, reasonable, open-minded, flexible and uninhibited. When we learn to talk about feelings in a safe way it enables us to connect better with others and recover the full use of our rational faculties. Empathy and assertiveness are the skills that help us do this.

This management training course and leadership coaching programme can teach you how to become really good at these skills. Here are some examples. The approach they illustrate is just as effective in the workplace, with friends and family.

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People who feel understood are more receptive

Examples Of How To Say No

Example 1 - How to say no to the boss

  • ERIC: Viv, I need .... urgently. Could you drop what you're doing and do it for me right away?
  • VIV (assertive with empathy): I hate saying this, Eric, because I would like to help you out and I can hear it's urgent, but the answer is no. I'm not free right now.
  • ERIC: But it needs to be done now!
  • VIV (frank and firm): I'm really sorry to disappoint you. But right now I'm committed.
  • ERIC: When can you do it, then?
  • VIV: I'll be free when I've completed the job I'm doing, but it won't be until ... I don't want to leave you in the lurch, so if you can't wait until then maybe I can help you find somebody else who might be able to help".

Example 2 - How to say no to friends

  • CLUB CAPTAIN: Pete, there's a vacancy on the club committee. You're just the kind of person we need. I'd like you to join us.
  • MEMBER (feels overwhelmed, but with mixed feelings): That's very flattering, Chas. Thank you for the invitation. I need to think about it.
  • CAPTAIN: What's to think about? Just say yes.
  • MEMBER (admits his feelings): I'd like to. But it doesn't feel right. It would be one more reason not to spend time with my wife and children. I'm already away from home more than I want to be.
  • CAPTAIN: It won't take much time. We only meet once a month.
  • MEMBER (finally able to be firmly assertive): No thank you, Chas. My decision is not to take on any more commitments right now. I'm flattered to be asked. I'm glad to be a club member and play in the team. 

Example 3 - How to say no to family

  • 15 year old son: Dad, a friend of mine is having a party this weekend. It's all right if I go, isn't it?
  • DAD (alarm bells start ringing): Where is it?
  • SON: In his parents' house. I'll only be away one night.
  • DAD (now feels under great pressure, but decides that rather than cave in and say 'yes' it would be better to be honest; speaks assertively): I'm not happy about it at all. I love you and think highly of you, but saying no to your friends when they ask you to do things that might not be good for you is very difficult even for an adult. I don't think you've had enough experience yet to stand up to that kind of pressure.
  • SON: Lots of my friends are going. Their parents have a more modern outlook.
  • DAD (finds courage and integrity in his gut feelings; continues to be assertive): I don't like saying no to you, but my guts are telling me it would be wrong to say yes.
  • SON: Oh, Dad! Don't be so old fashioned. It'll look really bad if I can't go.
  • DAD (at last able to give a clear and firm 'no'): You may be upset, but my answer's no, and I've told you the reason why.
  • SON (secretly relieved, and feeling very safe and cared for): Oh, all right then.

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Stand up for your ideas and also respect theirs

Proven Training

This training gives managers, leaders and professionals the exact steps you need to say 'no' ... and have it accepted without argument.

You might also find our pages on being more demanding and how to avoid being submissive relevant and helpful.

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Free exploratory coaching session

The first session is free so you're not committing yourself until you're sure this training is relevant for you. You will also learn something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work.

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