Business + Publicity

The Little Word with BIG Impact: How to Say ‘No’

August 9, 2016

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If you read about my goal for this year (which happened to be one of my most popular posts!), you know that I’m all about finding ways to do less while accomplishing more in 2016.

And one of the biggest challenges I face with this, is saying yes to requests or invitations when I really want to say no.

As women, we’re natural people pleasers.

And as entrepreneurs, we want to do it all.

But that’s a formula for disaster that will eventually leave us exhausted and unhappy in work and in life.

So today, I’m sharing a video with my thoughts on how to say no, when you should say it, plus the exact simple scripts I use so it doesn’t feel bad to turn down offers that don’t completely thrill you or bring you closer to your goals.

Here’s to saying no!

If you’re like me and do all your blog reading in the evening with a baby sleeping next to you, here’s a handy text transcript 🙂

Let’s talk about a simple word that i don’t think we use often enough…

And that little word is ‘no.’

I’m talking about saying no when it comes to all of those invitations, requests, and demands on our time, energy and resources.

This happens all the time in business but also in our personal lives.

I think as women, this is especially hard for us because we’re people pleasers… but it’s time we draw the line and start setting some healthy boundaries.

So let’s break it down, real simple.

In this video, we’ll talk about:

When to say no, how to say it– and in a way that we actually feel good about it…

And I’ll share a couple simple scripts I use all the time.

So first, how do you know when to say no?

Well, If you’re not turning down offers and invitations to things that don’t thrill you at least a few times a week… chances are, you’re saying yes far too often.

So here’s what you do:

Think of your three biggest personal and business goals- go ahead, write them down.

Every time you are presented with an opportunity where you have to commit yourself to either a yes or a no… ask yourself:

Will saying yes bring me closer to achieving one of my major goals?

If not, then you know what you should say.

But how do we actually go about saying it in a way so we don’t feel like a total jerk doing so?

The simple and effective formula i use is:  Honesty + Gratitude.

And your response sounds a little something like this:

“Thank you for thinking of me of this! Unfortunately, it’s not going to workout for me right now, but please know it’s really an honor to be asked.”

Or, If you’re put on the spot and just not ready to say no right away… your next best option:

“That sounds like a wonderful opportunity, but I’ll have to check my schedule first.”

And that buys you some time to write a throughtful response back.

Notice what i’m not saying:

I’m not saying—  “I’m sorry”

And I’m not making promises to do something in the future.

Because “sorry”, isn’t honest.

Usually, we’re not sorry… we simply don’t want to do it!

And being honest and an example of setting healthy boundaries is nothing to apologize for.

I’m also no saying, “but maybe next time!”

Because then you’ve just set yourself up for trouble down the road.

When you say no from a place of genuine honesty and gratitude, you don’t feel so bad doing it. And you’ll probably find that people respect you for your answer.

The best way to get good at it, like anything else, is to practice.

So for the next week, I challenge you to say ‘no’ to every little request that doesn’t either absolutely thrill you or bring you closer to your top priorities.

Just give it a week and try on out for a bit… I have a feeling ‘no’ is going to look real good on you!

And please let me know how it goes.

Share in the comments and help inspire others on the journey to setting boundaries and saying no… so we can say ‘yes’ to what matters most!






  1. Pete Brand says:

    This video has me excited about saying, “no!” Here’s to the end of dreading meetings I said “yes” to simply out of an internal sense of obligation to be a “nice guy.” 🙂

    • Emily Richett says:

      Yes, no more Nice Guy Pete!
      🙂 Because your business and family deserve Mr. Nice Guy first, right?
      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Emily says:

    This is so timely! I was recently asked to be a featured segment on a local news channel and I was so honored and excited. Then I was hit with a very large price tag after two (!!) meetings. I was feeling so bad telling her ‘no’ because of the presentation she sent time on and gave me until i watched this! It’s not even my target audience AT ALL. Thank you emily!

    • Emily Richett says:

      Ah, Emily… sorry to hear this!
      This happens all the time and friends with small businesses will forward me these emails and I tell them- if it says “account executive” in the signature, it’s a sales pitch. Also, if the news really wants to feature you, they will likely just reach out with a direct invitation (date and time) and not a meeting first. They don’t usually have time to meet with people before putting them on-air because they have so much content and daily news to fill.
      The good news is… once you’re ready, you are definitely newsworthy and can get some organic coverage (for free!).
      I’m glad this inspired you to stick to your guns and give not only a ‘no thank you’ for now but also not a promise for the future (or they will come asking again!).

  3. Dan says:

    I need to do this more, great tips!

  4. Amy says:

    Great advice, well said

  5. Amy says:

    I need to do more of this.

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