How to Decide When to Say No

Learn how you can decide when to say yes and when to say no.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #107

Have you ever taken on additional responsibilities when your schedule was already fully booked? Have you ever accepted a Facebook friend request from a work acquaintance you barely know because you weren’t sure how to say no? In this three part episode you’ll learn when and how to say no..

How to Decide When to Say No

Let’s face it, from time to time all of us need to say no. In fact, being an effective person (spouse, parent, student, community member, etc.) means being able to say no. When you say no to a new commitment, what you are really saying is yes to the things that are most important to you.

So today’s quick and dirty tip is to think of saying no as a way of honoring your values and existing obligations. It’s NOT selfish! Repeat after me: it’s not selfish. In fact, it’s a sign of professional and emotional maturity.

Why We Say Yes When We Mean No

So why then do we say yes when we should say no? Sometimes we say yes because we underestimate the time it will take to complete the tasks (the new one and the old ones we’ve already committed to). Sometimes we say yes because in the moment it seems easier to say yes; or worse, we don’t have the courage to say no. Sometimes we say yes out of obligation or respect for the relationship.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.