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How to say no


I saw a formula a little while back showing people how in assertive way you can say no to people without causing offence

Has anyone any idea what it is or where I can find it

War, REgards

Jennifer Topping

7 Responses

  1. is this it?
    Say it
    ~I’m afraid I can’t do that


    Give Reason
    If I did, I’d have to let X down/break the law/kill you


    I appreciate that will be a real pain for you, but I’m sure you wouldn’t want to see X let down/see me in jail/see your life flac=sh before you


    Discuss Alternatives
    Perhaps you could ask Y to do it/ask X if waiting is ok with him/her


  2. DESC Scripting

    DESC Scripting may be something that you could use, I use it in my assertiveness workshop when dealing with the area of saying No assertively:-

    D- describe the behaviour
    E – Express the impact it is having
    S – Specify what you would like to happen
    C – Consequences if this does/not happen + or –

    If you type in DESC scripting into google you will find lots of great info:


  3. What’s the real barrier?
    What is the real barrier to saying ‘no’? Is it a fear of causing offence, because if you have the right to say no, and you say it with polite words, voice and body language, it’s not your fault if someone chooses to act offended. But isn’t the real barrier something else – we are taught to try to please, to be nice and to accommodate. It’s hard to go against this training. I suggest it’s not anxiety about the other person’s feelings that’s the problem – it’s anxiety about the first person’s feelings. At least we have some say in that!

  4. NO
    I have many ways to say no assertively; unfortunately none of my methods are in a formula and so cannot give you this one?

    Repeat – second time:
    I have many ways to say no assertively; unfortunately none of my methods are in a formula and so cannot give you this one?

    Repeat third time:
    I have many ways to say no assertively; unfortunately none of my methods are in a formula and so cannot give you this one?

    There are two to start with:

    Giving a positive alternative and then saying no to the request.

    Repeating your statement (broken record)


  5. No, but this is what I can do..
    Hi Jennifer

    Nick’s suggestion of ‘Broken Record’ is good and syaing ‘No’ followed by the things you are able to do is also an effective strategy.

    Just to add a slightly different view – there are times where you have to say ‘Yes’ – but it helps to do it with conditions attached. This helps to communicate the value of the ‘Yes’.

    So ‘Yes, if I do this task which of my other tasks do you want me not to do’ or ‘Yes, what will you do in return (you owe me)’ or ‘Yes, on this occasion to help you out, but No after today’ or ‘Yes, if you help me with XYZ’.

    Sometimes saying ‘Yes’ is a good way to say ‘No’. When faced with a ‘Yes’ with conditions, many people can’t be bothered, it smokes out the people who really are trying to take advantage of you.



  6. Every no is a yes
    What I find most useful is that for every no that I am saying, I am effectively saying yes to something else – a higher principle or priority. So I can always feel good about saying no when I know that I am saying yes to something that is of intrinsically higher value.

    I may or may not choose to give my reasons to the other person. If I do, I must be prepared for them to challenge my reasons or justifications. They might even begin to bargain or negotiate with me, based on the reasons I give for my ‘no’. That seems to me a reasonable response by the other.

    Knowing what I am saying yes to (and holding that vision and awareness), enables me to be gracious and firm with my no.


  7. Saying no…
    I’ve used series of points that overlap some of those already made…

    1) Say no. Watch your voice tone. Not maybe, I’ll think about it, let me get back to you…

    2) Give them some reasons. Don’t forget the magic word ‘because’.

    3) Give some alternatives – why not help them out if you can?

    4) Empathy – if you can let them know you appreciate that things might be difficult for them without caving in.

    5) Broken record – yes this does work.

    6) Stick to it. If you start to shift you might find yourself saying yes.

    Of course, all this changes a bit if the person is saying no to is your boss…


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