Bonus Day: December 7, 2022, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET

The Art of Saying No: Save the Deal, Save the Relationship, and Still Say No

Faculty: William L. Ury

No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the English language. For many people, it is also the hardest to say. Yet every day we find ourselves in situations where we need to say no—to people at work, at home, and in our communities—because it is the word we must use to stand up for what matters to us.

In business, how do you say no to an overly demanding co-worker or boss without hurting the relationship? Saying no the right way is possibly the single most valuable skill in negotiation—and absolutely key to getting to yes. As you will learn, the secret to saying no while protecting and advancing your core interests, without compromising relationships, lies in the art of the positive no. You will explore three common, yet flawed, approaches to the power-versus-relationship dilemma:

1. Accommodate: Saying yes when we want to say no. In this approach, we prioritize the relationship even if it means
sacrificing our own interests.

2. Attack: Saying no poorly. In this case, we use our power without concern for the relationship.

3. Avoid: Saying nothing at all. The third approach is avoidance, plain and simple.

Fortunately, there is a way out of this trap: a positive no. Challenging the assumption that you can either use power to get what you want (at the expense of the relationship) or use the relationship (at the expense of the power), this approach calls on you to use both at the same time, engaging the other in a constructive and respectful confrontation. In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Make your no firm and strong
  • Resist the other side’s aggression and manipulation
  • Defuse attacks and guilt tactics
  • Get to the right yes—the one that truly serves your interests