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English Speaking Skills- When You Have to Say No

English Speaking Skills- When You Have to Say No


Many of us have a hard time saying no.  However, from time to time, we all have to say it – and with practice, we can get better at it.  Oh yes, we can say no in a way that lets us feel more comfortable … and makes the other person more comfortable and less upset.

Here are a few techniques that might help you.

  • “No, but…”

Go from the particular request (which you can’t do) to a general contribution (which you can do).  For example: “No, I really can’t organize the holiday party.  But I’ll be very glad to come early to help set up.”

  • “I’d like some time to think about it.”

Remember, you don’t have to answer immediately.  By taking time to consider the request, you can take emotion out of the situation.  Also you gain the option of saying no in writing or perhaps by voice mail.

  •  “Thank you for thinking of me. It’s just not possible for me to do right now.”

This is a particularly graceful way to say no.  Another variation, “I’m so flattered you thought to ask me.  It’s just not possible for me to volunteer right now.”

  •  “I can’t, but these folks…”

If you can’t do it, at least you can recommend others who might help in some way.  For example: “I’m not the person to run your charity fund drive this year… but I do have good contacts at the local newspaper who could give you valuable publicity.  I would be happy to make those calls for you.”  Then, of course, follow through with your promise and make those calls.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

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Rerun from Nov 18, 2015

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