5 ways to say NO.


Saying no needs to be more regular than irregular in a leader’s life. Leaders influence other people. Oftentimes leaders will be inundated with good opportunities that aren’t crucial to the mission or a good steward of their skills or time. Here’s five ways to say no:

  • The awkward pause. Pause for a moment—maybe 2-3 seconds—before delivering your response.
  • The soft “no” (or the “no but”).
  • Let me check my calendar and get back to you. This gives you the time needed to reflect and ultimately be in control of your decisions.
  • Email bouncebacks. This will help people become more accustomed to your temporary absence and non responsiveness. For me a temporary absence/non-responsiveness looks like putting together a sermon series, having an off-site team meeting or attending a conference.
  • Say, “Yes. What should I deprioritize?” This lets the person know that something else is going to have go (i.e. communicates trade-offs).

Taken from Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

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