How to Say No at Work

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Is your calendar or schedule full of meeting after meeting after meeting?

Sometimes it’s just exhausting to look at. It doesn’t matter if it’s a one on one with your favourite person in the company or a workshop for a project that you know will go nowhere. By the end of the day, you’re going to be so tired that you’ll want to go straight to bed.

While it might seem like you need to hit the accept button on every single invite that comes your way, you don’t have to. There are ways to say no at work if you don’t feel like the session offers you any value.

Want to know how you can say no at work? Here are some common phrases that will help you take your precious time back.

What Do You Need From Me at This Meeting?

Before you hit accept or decline on the meeting request, ask the organiser what they need from you at the session. The response should be something along the line of that it will inform you, or they need your expertise.

If it’s to inform you, there are better ways to do this. They can send you an email, presentation, or even a video of the Zoom call for you to review in your own time. If they need your expertise, ask them what they require and provide it before the meeting. If they’re not sure what they need, then you can go ahead and hit decline.

Do You Need Me to Contribute at This Meeting?

For workshops and brainstorming, you should get an understanding of the contribution you’re expected to bring. Some of these types of activities will bring in subject matter experts just in case questions are raised about particular topics.

If you’re expected to be a subject matter expert on standby, then you don’t need to attend just in case something gets raised. They can park the question and follow up afterwards. The meeting owner should want you to contribute with your ideas. If they don’t want them, then you’re not needed.

How Does My Presence Help at This Meeting?

It’s OK to ask the meeting owner why they want you at this meeting. Why is your presence necessary? If they can’t give you a good reason, then you can say no at work and use the time for more productive activities.

You can even take a browse through the other attendees. If your colleagues are attending or people in similar roles, then you may not be needed. It might even be something you can get updated on later by your teammates.

What is the Desired Outcome of the Meeting?

One of the best questions to ask is what the outcome of the meeting will be. Is there a decision being made, or will the result push the business further than it was an hour ago? If there isn’t an outcome expected, say that you won’t be attending.

Companies are notorious for having pre-meeting meetings. These are not necessary on a lot of occasions unless it’s to prepare as a group. Don’t waste your time and only attend sessions that will make a difference.

What to do After You Say No at Work

There is nothing wrong with saying no at work. In fact, it will make your presence more meaningful at the meetings you do attend. The most important asset you have as a leader is your time. Don’t waste it on meetings where your presence or contribution isn’t required.

With the time you have left, you can spend it on the Better Boss Blog. You’ll find tips, tricks, and advice on how to improve your leadership skills. Follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, so you never miss a post.

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