Tanisha Drummer Parrish

How to say no and feel good about it

Pay attention to the messages you receive through others. They are gifts. If you keep the right perspective there is something to be learned in everything regardless of the outcome.

Last week I wrote about the topic of learning when to say no.  This week I’m continuing with the theme and focusing on how to say no by sharing a great example of how to say no in a direct and honest way that makes you and others feel good about the response.

I learned this lesson from someone who told me no.

The background to the story is that I reached out to an individual that I had never met at the recommendation of a friend. He has a successful career doing much of the work I am interested in, and I was really excited about meeting him.  Instead of waiting for the perfect introduction, I decided to go for it. I knew that he was extremely busy, but I reached out anyway with a thoughtful and compelling email in order to stand out from other requests he might receive. I made it clear who I was and why I was reaching out. I closed the email with a request to schedule a 30 minute call. I was so proud of my savvy email and that I just knew I would get a positive response.

Well, I did get a response, but it wasn’t the response I had hoped for. He said no.

I was disappointed, but was so impressed by how he responded, that it made me take notice. I saved the email for future reference and have already used it as a model for saying no.  I thought I’d share it with the hopes that it may help you as well.

Here is the response:

Thanks for your email and the lovely offer to connect.   You seem really interesting from your profile on LinkedIn and I imagine we would have a lot to connect around.

 Unfortunately, I need to decline.  The degree of my existing commitments means that I must maintain a very high and disciplined prioritization, and need to turn down almost everything that does not directly relate to my existing commitments.

 I hope our paths may cross in some other context.

Until then…wishing you every blessing…

What do you think of this response? How you might use it to say no to others? 

© 2023 Tanisha Drummer Parrish – Life Under Innovation