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How to Say ‘no’ at work without sounding like a jerk

Fear. Anxiety.  Doubt.

That’s exactly what I USED to feel at the thought of saying ’no’ to a work request.  I mean, you only get one chance to say ‘no’ before people just stop considering you, right?  

Ummm…not so much.

In today’s video, we’re turning the notion of saying ‘no’ on it’s backside so you can reclaim your power and keep yourself sane.  By the end of the video, you will master how to say ‘no’ in a way that still invites people to consider you in the future.

Let’s discuss the strategy of saying no – the right way

Stop & Think

Your career is not a ticking time bomb.  Give yourself a moment to think about whether that job or project you’re being tapped for, actually makes sense for you.

Assess the Opportunity

Thinking can quickly lead to OVER-thinking if you’re not strategic about where to focus. So here’s what I usually think about when deciding whether that new opportunity is a ‘Do’ or a ‘Don’t’

  1. Will this project / job be fun?
  2. Will this project / job be intriguing?
  3. Am I passionate about the topic?
  4. Do I have the energy to invest in it?

If the answers to the above are yes, yes, yes, – it’s a go.  If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above questions, you may want to pass

Prepare for the Worst

Most people won’t make your ‘No’ stick too easily.  So, prepare for the pushback and maybe even a cold shoulder or two.  Stick to your guns.  As soon as others realize they can pressure you into a ‘Yes’, you’ll never be able to get respect for your ‘No’.

ExTRA BONUS:  OK, you’ve decided to say ‘No’, but what exactly are the words you need to say so your ‘No’ today keep you in the running for a future ‘yes’.  Watch the vid and get a quick script.

Now comes the fun part, I get to listen to you!  So tell me, was this helpful?  Leave a comment below, share your thoughts with other viewers and sign up for email updates.  You never know how your voice will impact someone’s life.  Need some personalized career attention?  Work with me and get 10x the career love and attention.

The corporate world needs that brilliance that only you bring.  So go out into the world, act with conviction, be courageous and live joyfully every single day.


Adwoa Dadzie is a Vice President of Human Resources at a Fortune 50 company and Corporate Career Strategist. The views expressed in this post are Adwoa’s and do not reflect the views of her employer. Follow her on Twitter @adwoadadzie3, Instagram @adwoadadzie, Periscope @adwoadadzie3, or visit her at

XO, Adwoa

Adwoa Dadzie is a Vice President of Human Resources at Comcast and a Millennial Corporate Career Thought Leader.

The views expressed in this post are Adwoa’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.


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