“Yes” or “No,” Which Sounds Better?

By Paul Cowley, Founder, President, & Creative Director
04/29/2016

“Yes” right! “Yes” is the warm and fuzzy word that makes you feel good. As business people, we all strive to be that CAN DO guy or gal, or that GO TO person everyone loves. We all want to feel the LOVE, so we say “yes,” but the question becomes, when is it OK to say…“no”?

There are times we just want to have that “say yes now, figure it out later mentality,” my father always said that, so I get it. But in reality “yes” is more often than not a dishonest word, a keep my job word; say what the boss or client wants to hear word. It’s just easier to say, “yes.” Don’t rock the boat. It’s not comfortable standing up for the right thing, but that’s how you build a trustworthy reputation or brand. People hire people for their expertise, if you don’t give them an honest opinion you are cheating them out of what they are paying you for.  

Science says that saying “no” has a negative bias to it in the brain and can be thought of as harsh. So, it’s important to soften the blow, but saying “no” can increase productivity and help you focus. By turning down those things that aren’t in your wheelhouse, you free yourself to zero in on the activities that are productive and make you feel successful.

Most importantly, the power of “no” keeps your integrity. There is always quite a bit of gray area in this world and when we say “no,” people can feel the honesty. We need to stay true to our true selves and what we stand for. Be that GO TO person not because you are a YES PERSON, but because you can be trusted to give them what they came to you for. You know what they say, “honesty is the best policy.”

Be true to who you are and your expertise. Let your “no” be a no and your “yes” be a yes. If you do that, you will never have to guess whether you’re saying the right thing ever again.

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