In business, you have to say no. Whether it’s because you don’t have enough time or something more pressing needs your attention, there are times when you need to turn down requests. The difficulty with saying no is we want to be able to help others. You also may worry that saying no could damage a relationship or change how someone views you. Here are some tips to make saying no easier:

Always Say No

I don’t mean that you should say no to everything, but when you need to say no, always do. Refusing to say no out of fear of not wanting to let down the other person is not good for you or anyone else. It is better to be honest upfront.

Of course you should be careful about always refusing requests. Take a second to think if you really can help somebody out. Being willing to help others makes you a good team member and leader.

Give Your Reasons

Simply telling someone no and walking away will make the person feel as if they’ve been brushed aside and is a lot more difficult for you. Give your reasoning for why you can’t do what someone asks of you. Explain what is preventing you from saying yes, such as having more pressing obligations.

Offer Another Option

Refer those you refuse to someone else who is more qualified, or has more capacity to help them. If this isn’t possible, offer to help at a different time or with a different project. This will create good feelings between you and the person asking something of you. You will feel good because you were able to help, and the other person will get the help they need. 

Saying no isn’t easy for some people. Just like anything, it takes practice. But saying yes to everything will distract you from what is really important. Use these tips for a more professional and kind way to say no.