I was recently a guest on the Sales for Nerds podcast with Reuben Swartz. We were discussing how to form more genuine connections. “No” and “yes” should never be one word answers. We all need to have boundaries and clarity on what we want to say yes and no to. If you’re someone who tends to say “yes” too quickly to things you don’t want to do, or you find yourself over-committing, here are some tips on how to set boundaries with your answers.
1. Don’t answer too quickly.
We tend to want to give a quick answer so try to avoid that. You might instead say something like “Let me look into that first and I’ll let you know,” or “Let me see if that’s possible. If you want to answer with an initial “Yes,” you can use phrases like “Yes if…”, “Yes, when…”, “Yes, after…” Try and stall for time a bit. This will give you the space to think about it first before giving a concrete answer.
2. Ask how you can still be helpful.
If you want to initially say no, check in and ask if there’s any other way you can help if you can’t be helpful to them in the way you want. Say something like “If I’m not able to, what else would be helpful to you?” Present it like “I wont be able to, but here’s what I can do…” A “No, but…”
Option three is collaborating with them on how to move from a “no” to a “yes.” You can say something along the lines of, “Although I can’t do that right now, I’m happy to collaborate to turn the ‘no’ into a ‘yes.'”
With these in mind, I hope you’ll be able to establish better boundaries for yourself.