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  • How are you coming across to your boss?
    How are you coming across to your boss?
  • Do you frequently get into arguments?
    Do you frequently get into arguments?
  • Can you allow discussion and still keep control?
    Can you allow discussion and still keep control?
  • Are your conversations achieving what you want?
    Are your conversations achieving what you want?
  • Are you getting the best out of your people?
    Are you getting the best out of your people?
  • Does your feedback help people change?
    Does your feedback help people change?

Might your need to be more successful at saying no
be met by this London UK based management training course
called Skills with People?

Yes if you agree with any of the following 

  • You find it very difficult to say no, especially when it's to someone who matters to you.
  • When you're saying no you wonder whether you're believable.
  • When you mean no  you sometimes send a weak maybe  signal.
  • Saying no is so difficult that you sometimes say yes  when you don't want to.
  • You'd like to be able to say no firmly, once only, and have it accepted - but without being discourteous.

What you'll take away from this course

This course will develop your ability to say no firmly but unaggressively when you need to. It won't ever be easy, but it'll be easier. The key lies in using the two skills we'll help you master, empathy and assertiveness. It's as crucial in life and at work to be able to say what you don't want, as it is to be able to say what you do want.

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Click here to listen to our conversation - 
How to say no without jeopardising your reputation or career

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Free exploratory coaching session

INTERESTED?

If so, you can have a FREE exploratory coaching session. It'll give you a foretaste of what you can get from the course. You make no commitment to proceed beyond this until you're sure this training is relevant to your own particular need.

How to accept this offer

Simply contact us for a preliminary chat and to arrange your free exploratory coaching session. 

What this session will do for you

In this session we'll aim to give you something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work. All you need do to prepare for this session is think about the kinds of situations you want to be able to handle more successfully.

FAQs

You'll find answers to many of your questions about the content and method of this course under FAQs (in the main menu above).

How the skills you'll practise on this course
will make you more more confident and successful
at saying no when you have to

Here's a firm but unaggressive way to say no 

It's one of the things you can practise and receive coaching on on the Skills with People course:-

  1. First, say something positive or appreciative about what you are being asked to do. And show understanding if you can for person who's asking you and the need that prompts them to ask. 
  2. Then take time to register privately how you feel about doing it. You might say, “I need moment to think about it.” or, “I need a few days to consider it”, or “I need to discuss it with ...”.
  3. Then say honestly how you feel and why, e.g., "I don't feel right about saying yes, because ..."
  4. Wait for their response.
  5. If they press you, be firmly assertive in saying no, e.g., “My decision is no, for the reason I have said. But thank you for asking.”

If you'd like some examples of how to say no, using the skills we'll help you develop on the course, read on ...

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 for saying no – as shown in these examples. At the bottom of the page is a set of practical guidelines on how to say no.

Two of the three examples are from conversations outside work, but the approach they illustrate is just as effective in the workplace:-

Example  1

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.

Example 2

CLUB CAPTAIN:  Pete, there’s a vacancy on the club committee. You’re just the kind of person we need.  ’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 appreciate being asked. I’m glad to be a club member and play in the team.

Example 3

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 ...

Yet more reasons why you might benefit
from this training in how to say no 

  • It's sometimes necessary to put your foot down, to draw a clear line. You find this difficult.
  • You'd like to be able to put foot down without stepping on people's toes, to be tough on the issue but not on the person.
  • You sometimes say yes simply because you feel so bad about saying no.
  • You sometimes need to be able to be firmer and clearer when you say no, so that people really get the message. 

Is there more information on this website
relevant to saying no?

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

We love helping you communicate successfully

By giving you communication skills that'll transform even your most challenging relationships and interactions.

That's the purpose of Skills with People, our training course for managers and professional people at all levels. Thousands have benefited from this course.

Video Introduction

What People Have Said About The Course

Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson finance director

He has made excellent progress in the management of his team. He has ensured key stakeholders are involved in decision-making and has gone to great le ...

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Golf Club Manager

Ten out of ten for the course for me personally. I think I would have resigned if it hadn't been for the course.

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Feedback from participant's boss - an HSBC investment director

I have had three unprompted comments from different team members and colleagues who have been surprised at the consideration he has shown in helping s ...

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Learning & Development Coordinator - The Entertainer

I can't recommend this course enough. It has genuinely been the most impactful course I have ever completed. Understanding that I can be assertive w ...

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Thank you from a participant

I wanted to let you know that I have secured a new role.  I had to go through an assessment centre and one challenge was to negotiate with a 'belliger ...

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Leisure Centre Manager

The most useful part of the course was learning how to convey my disappointment with a member of staff without demotivating them, without making them ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a WS Atkins director

Now he actively listens, probes, asks for clarifications and does not assume anymore he knows the answer.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Prudential director

He is a lot more confident. At the last meeting of our business unit leaders he fully led the meeting and dealt with people very well.

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Billiton director

He's obviously making a positive effort and it does show. People used to be scared of him. No longer.

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Fundraising Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

A very intimate training which will make anyone reflect on how best to engage with colleagues when confronted with difficult situations.

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Feedback from participant's boss - Chairman of White Clarke Group

He has greatly improved his ability to manage a situation. He listens more and uses that information to convince. A good example is the .... group, wh ...

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National Training Index* report on the course

"From delegates reports we have identified Skills with People is a 'highspot' among UK business courses. Delegates mentioned as most helpful the enha ...

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Senior Resource Consultant, Shell International

“Skills with People” has helped me deal with conflict situations.  It has helped me to diffuse tension in meetings and convert pushback into alignment ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson Matthey Catalysts (Germany) senior manager

There has been a noticeable improvement in the performance of this customer service engineer. He is much more succinct now than he was before. He was ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Shell International senior manager

He is showing far more self-awareness and more restraint in potentially confrontational situations. He is far more aware of the impact his actions and ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Kimberley-Clark marketing director

He is now aware of his need to control his direct approach. He was sometimes too assertive. I think he is now well balanced in this respect.

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Theatre Manager

Managing to confront them but still maintain their cooperation and support. Previously I was either not confronting or confronting and ending up with ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - head of projects in Heinz

He now gains support through his willingness to involve people more and take them with him.

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Senior Engineer, Qualcomm

An unbelievable experience, highly motivating training and one of the few which stays forever in your mind. A tangible impact to your life and workin ...

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EHS advisor (environmental health and safety), Johnson Matthey

This is the best non-techincal course the company has ever put me on because it's the most useful. 

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Glaxo SmithKline research director

He has made good progress in two areas: 1. team leadership - he listens with empathy to others well and considers their standpoint as well as his own. ...

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Sports Centre Manager

I feel that my relationship with other attendees has improved massively following the session. I'd say 9/10 for what I've got from the course as I sa ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - a Johnson & Johnson marketing director

She has become increasingly aware and focussed on ensuring she is gaining cooperation from colleagues by the way she approaches situations. E.g., Meet ...

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Feedback from a participant's boss - a Merck Sharp & Dohme medical director

She feels more confident in tackling people and has been impressed with her new found techniques, e.g., in dealing with members of the marketing depar ...

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The wife of a participant

"Just thinking about last night’s conversation and it’s bringing tears to my eyes – it’s what I’ve always wanted: to be able to talk with you like tha ...

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Project Quality Engineer (self funding)

A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listen with empathy" / "speak assertively". Defin ...

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Workshop Manager, Professional Plant Services

I now find it easier to have awkward conversations. (As a result of how he has changed several more people from his company are asking to attend the c ...

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Feedback from participant's boss - A Philips Semiconductors director

To what extend do I think his training need has been satisfied? Completely. I have been approached by 4 peers to tell me that they could see a very po ...

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Examples of Training Needs Met

Respected specialist who was too quiet at meetings Read More...
Enormous enthusiasm but little sensitivity Read More...
Allowed his meetings to get out of hand Read More...
Difficulty communicating with non-technical people Read More...
Forceful communicator who created friction Read More...
Very logical but not creating enough rapport Read More...
Well intentioned but demoralising his team Read More...
Lots of energy and ideas but little attention for his clients Read More...
Preparing for a more challenging role Read More...
Very diligent but hated dealing with difficult people Read More...
Had a positive attitude but gave a negative impression Read More...
Being more assertive would help career go better Read More...
Not delegating or developing others Read More...
Technically very sound but lacking persuasive skills Read More...
Flying high but creating a tense atmosphere Read More...

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