Do you find it a lot easier to say “yes” than “no” though you end up with too much on your plate or doing something that may not be in the best interest of your spa or massage practice? It turns out that saying no is difficult for many people for several reasons.
Maybe you are concerned if you say no, the other person will be angry or critical of you. It doesn’t matter who that person is. They can be someone close to you personally or business contact. The inability to say no stems from your desire to please and be liked. You also may be concerned that saying no could hurt your business. For example, you want to avoid conflict with a client who routinely makes unreasonable demands, such as asking you to stay late for a massage therapy session to accommodate their schedule or for discounts on services. You may think that you are avoiding conflict by acquiescing to these demands that will assure an ongoing relationship. Generally, unreasonable clients continue to be that way, however.
You also may give in to something you really don’t want to do because you don’t want to disappoint someone or make them feel bad. Possibly you have an employee that frequently asks for time off because of family obligations. You are sympathetic, but the requests affect your client's responsiveness or put a burden on other team members.
While your intentions may be good, the result is that your inability to say no can hurt your business's smooth operation and ultimately cause you and others working for you to undo stress. That’s why you need to learn to politely but firmly not give in. Take time to ask yourself how bad you’ll feel if you say no and if it better to do something you’d prefer not to do to avoid experiencing those feelings. You also will want to assess the fallout. Is it worth more to say yes, and what is the downside if you don’t? Once you accept that saying no is okay, here are some things to do to put it into practice.
Be clear about what you want
Decide what you want from the exchange. Sometimes the issue isn’t just saying “no,” but negotiating for acceptable outcomes to both parties.
Keep your answer simple. There is no need to provide a long explanation for your decision. Also, by providing reasons for your decision, you open the door to possible challenges from the other party.
Use a comfortable medium
If you prefer to say no in an email or text versus over the phone or person, do so.
While you are saying no to a specific request, you can indicate you might want to help later or even offer an alternative.
Use convincing language
Don’t cast doubt on your decision by adding “maybe” or “it would depend if…” Be firm but be respectful to the other person about your decision.
Learning to say no is not about being negative or difficult. It’s about making good decisions for your sake and the sake of your spa or massage practice.