If you are responsible for asking people to do something – the worst habit you can get into is to say “no” for them. How many times have you thought of someone for a particular job, role or project, then decided not to ask them because you were sure they would turn you down?
There are times when you may need to screen your asking – you don’t want to over burden the same person with every request, but on the other hand, most people have more capacity than we give them credit.
How not to say “no” for people…
1) Get into the habit of planning your questions in advance. Are you looking for someone to help with a project? Then ask in advance so they are able to plan it into their schedule. When it’s last minute, we lose our edge – feeling badly that we procrastinated. That undermines confidence in asking.
2) Think who would be perfect for the job then go after the best, most qualified person to do what you need done! Don’t shy away.
3) Ask big – small projects don’t motivate leaders. If you have a huge job to accomplish, that might be the best motivation for someone who is gifted and skilled. We need to use common sense here, but something that takes 1 hour (maybe helping to sort some mail) might be viewed as busy work and isn’t nearly as great as the 20 -25 hour project (organizing the community fundraiser / outreach) that could impact the community for years.
4) Give them a chance to say “no” and be comfortable with it. It’s not personal. Everyone does have schedules in life and no one is a super human. If they can’t do it, then that’s fine. They have made the decision. Sometimes, just asking someone for something makes them feel included even if they aren’t able to help.
5) Be ready for “no’s” but don’t give up. In sales work, no will outweigh yes. But when you get the right yes, it’s a huge motivator and encouragement.
Enjoy, with confidence, inviting people into the great work you are doing!
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