Assert yourself and stay positive and helpful

question 2Keep things moving and yourself on track

You can hear yourself can’t you?  You’re asked a question or someone’s asking you to do something and all you can hear in your head is “no I can’t” or “no, not another thing” or “no way mate!”.  It’s so natural to be answering the question directly as it’s being asked instead of taking a second to re-position your response.  It’s about saying what you can do, what you’re able to do, what’s possible without actually saying no.

There are a myriad of ways to do this and too many to list here for you but it’s very much part of the secret sauce of being a more savvy communicator – being able to say “no” effectively without saying it.

One of the ways you can immediately take and use, is the “What Can I Do” principle.  Think about this scenario for a second – you’re at your desk, the phone rings and suddenly, as the phrase goes “someone’s urgency becomes your emergency”.  Or does it have to? Let-me-do-it

  • Of course it’s all about context and recognising a true jump-to-it moment but a lot of the time the person making the request will be happy with you saying “Ok, of course I can get that to you and I’ll send it across by 4pm” for example.
  • You’re acknowledging the request, you’re being helpful and you’re saying what you can do.  You don’t have to list all the things you’re doing and all the “reasons” why you can’t do it, you just cut to the chase and say “Yes, of course, I’ll do that for you by XYZ o’clock”.
  • They can always come back and tell you if that’s too long or  too late but what you’ve told them by your first response is “yes, and I’m making space for your request a bit later.”

So many women immediately say “oh, no – I’m right in the middle of XYZ and up to my eyes in things, I can’t possibly do that too” or “Oh, ok then” and drop what they’re in the middle of, what you’re already concentrating on, and rush off to attend to this request.  There’s that sense of busy-busy coming across which actually doesn’t help you or the other person’s impression of you.

Interestingly, it will take you longer to complete your own piece of work because you’ve broken off and started something else.  I think I read somewhere that it takes at least 5 or 6 minutes to get your brain back in tune with something you’re concentrating on when you break off.  That’s why constantly checking emails, always answering your phone because it rings means that – as well as the physical distraction – the mental distraction makes it take longer for you too.

So, what can you do now?

About the Author

show-up-sparkle-blog-sq-380-280Kay White is our Show Up & Sparkle blogger. Known as the Savvy & Influential Communication Expert for Women in Business, Kay shows professional women how to be seen, heard and valued at work. You can connect and find out more from Kay at:

AND if you’d like a Gift Chapter from Kay’s #1 best-selling book The A to Z of Being Understood, here you go:

It’s Q for Questions and is all about the best types of questions to ask, how to use them to build relationships and boost your confidence and when to use open and closed questions and why! Added sparkle for you!

About the author

Leonnie has worked with the WATC team for over 5 years. Leonnie also runs her own Design company

Related Posts