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English Speaking Skills: More Tips on When You Have to Say No

English Speaking Skills:  More Tips on When You Have to Say No


We all want to be able to say “yes” to all requests for help.  However, there are always times when we have to say no.  Here are some more techniques which let us feel more comfortable and the other person feel more comfortable, also.

  • “Not now, but I can next year.”

This is a positive way to handle a request (providing, of course, that you are sincere about helping next time).

  • “I am [state your problem], and I need [state your priorities].”

Be honest and direct about your situation.  For example: “I am dealing with a very ill parent right now.  I need to focus my energies on handling these family matters.”  Then just stop talking.  Do resist the temptation to keep justifying your position.  Your single statement and silence has all the power and rationale you and the other person needs.

  • “I only take advice from [name your professional].”

Sometimes we get bothered by unwanted medical advice.  Or unsolicited parenting tips.  Or inappropriate legal suggestions. Halt that conversation right away with: “I only take medical advice from professionals.”  …”I  only take parenting advice from child care experts.” … “I only take legal advice from my attorney.”

  • “Excuse me” (followed by departing).

This option is so simple, you might not think of it.  When a person is bothering you, and you can’t think of a graceful way to say,  “I’m not interested,” simply say “excuse me” in a polite voice and walk away.  You will feel much better, and the other person will understand your message.

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 25, 2015

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