Word-Of-the-Week #647: NO

December 29, 2016 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #647: NO 

NOused to express refusal, denial, disbelief, emphasis, or disagreement.

How are you holding up this Holiday Season? Do you feel like there are too many social obligations? Do you feel guilty just thinking about saying NO to someone?

This from Sarita Maybin, my good friend and fellow speaker, seemed perfect timing for this week’s WOW. She is the author of “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, What Do You Say?”

Say NO Nicely

My favorite ways to say NO fall into the three categories below. Choose the phrases–or a combination of phrases–that work best for you! (Note: Avoid making excuses)

  1. Compliment + NO
  • “I appreciate your thinking of me; however I’m going to opt out.”
  • “Thanks for the opportunity; however I’m not able to pursue it.”
  • “This sounds like a great project, yet I won’t be able to participate.
  • “I’m flattered that you’d ask me out, but I’m going to pass.”
  • “Thank you, but my plate is full.”
  1. Empathy + NO
  • “I know you need help with this, however I’m not available.”
  • “I wish I could assist you, however I’m not able to.”
  • “I’m not able to attend, but would love to help in another way.”
  • “I know you’re swamped with work, unfortunately I’m not able to help.”
  • “You’ve worked hard on this committee; however I won’t be able to join.”
  1. “Choose” to say NO
  • “I’ve chosen to pass on that offer.”
  • “That’s not on my radar right now.”
  • “That doesn’t work for me.”
  • “I’m not feelin’ it.”
  • “It’s not calling me.”

(By the way, category #3 also works well when someone replies with WHY!???  You say: “That just doesn’t work for me.” or “I’m just not feelin’ it.”)

Guilt-Free YES

  • If you must say YES, do it without guilt…set conditions and parameters that work for you!
  • “I’d be happy to get that info to you, if can wait until tomorrow”
  • “Boss, I’d love to get that project done for you.  Please let me know its priority in relation to the other assignments”
  • “I’ll get that done for you as soon as I finish what I’m working on.”

This week’s focus is on saying NO nicely. How comfortable is it for you to say NO? How many times have you wished you said NO and didn’t? Can you see yourself saying NO without any guilt?

For more information on saying NO nicely, read Chapter 5: An Offer You Can Refuse, in Sarita’s book  “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, What DO You Say?”

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WOW Word-Of-the-Week #416: Enjoyment

July 25, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #416: Enjoyment 

Enjoymentthe pleasure felt when having a good time.

How much enjoyment are you experiencing in your life? Do you have a good time at work? How about at home? Are you able to find enjoyment in the simple pleasures of  life?

I was featured in Sarita’s July What do you say Communiquemonthly e-newsletter. She titled it, “Are You Having FUN Yet?” Since this week is the 8th Anniversary of my WOW’s it seemed only fitting to share it.

Sarita writes, “We sometimes spend lots of energy trying to fix or change negative situations that are really beyond our control.  (ie–corporate decisions, the economy)

Instead, it would be a better use of our time to find ways to counteract the negativity by focusing on creating more of ‘what provides amusement or enjoyment’ (Webster Dictionary definition of FUN).

My colleague Susan Clarke, CFO (Chief FUN Officer) of FUN-damentals.com says it best: “Fun is riding the teeter totter on the playground of life. There will always be ups and downs. Hold on and enjoy the ride!”

” Sarita’s 12 Tips for ‘Enjoying the Ride.'”

 1. Make peace with your past so it doesn’t spoil all the fun in your future.

 2. Don’t try to win every argument.  Agree to disagree. 

 3. Each day do something nice for someone. 

 4. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what they’ve been through.

 5.  Develop a network of friends to support you in “enjoying the ride.”

 6. Don’t take yourself so seriously…keep a sense of humor.

 7. Use your “resiliency resources.”  i.e. – spend time doing your favorite activities

 8.  Smile. Laugh. Play.

 9.  Create a list of FUN things to do, then start doing them.

 10. Don’t take things personally.  It’s usually NOT about you.

 11. Ask for what you want.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

 12. Remember…no one is in charge of your happiness except you.

 Copyright 2012 Sarita Maybin. All rights reserved.

This week’s focus is on enjoyment. Are you “enjoying the ride?” What pleasures do you relish?  Which of the 12 tips could you start doing to ensure a FUN ride?

Sarita’s book, “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, What DO You Say? is available on Amazon.com.

Reader Responses

“No. 6 sounds like my “life is too serious to be too serious.” – Ralph

“It is up to us to find that enjoyment – EVERY DAY. If we don’t, it is no one’s fault but our own. So, we have to go for it. It starts with a smile and a good attitude. I know I look forward to seeing my coworkers and finding enjoyment in our conversations. It is important to make the time for enjoyment. In terms of doing something nice for someone, I make an effort to remember what my friends and family members enjoy and then send something. Most times it will be just sending an anniversary card or a birthday card to them or their children. When I do that, I feel a goodness right in the center of my chest. Maybe it is because I am sending out positive vibes to the universe. Especially when it is a birthday wish for children. I’m sure that getting mail in their mailbox is a big deal. I know that it was for me when I was a kid. When our family traveled to Pentwater, MI, last month, I never turned on my cellphone. It was such a good feeling to leave behind the noise and simply relax and find enjoyment in the sand, surf and breeze. I don’t make a list of things that I want to do. That is being too conscious. I try to leave enough room for spontaneity in this area of my life, and then when the opportunity presents itself I try to take advantage of it. The Moody Blues have a song I enjoy entitled “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” which is what I sometimes think of when I am sitting in our backyard with a cup of coffee, simply watching a woodpecker atop the telephone poll in the park. Or a robin calling out for another robin on the telephone wire. It is in these very simple things of life that I find enjoyment. Great word, Susan. Keep up the great work. I will give you a report on the James Taylor concert at Ravinia on Saturday night. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe

WOW Word-Of-the-Week #403: Acknowledgement

April 24, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #403: Acknowledgement 

Acknowledgement – the act of recognizing and validating one’s existence.

How did you do last week when it came to engaging the people around you? Did you ask questions to draw them in?  Did you find a Relevant area in which you could connect with them?

This is the second WOW featuring, “Sarita’s REAL Rules of Engagement: How to Create a Communication Connection.”

Eye Contact
This is certainly nothing new, but if you’re not using eye contact at least 70% of the time, people  will not feel that you’re connecting with them.   That’s true with individual conversation as well as when giving a speech.   By the way, that also means no multi-tasking such as texting while talking. (And I say, give them your full attention and you will connect easily)

Let people feel heard.   Even if you don’t agree with the other person’s comment, at least acknowledge it—“I hear you”, “I understand what you’re saying”—before  sharing your views.
(Another simply easy way to acknowledge someone is to nod your head when they are speaking)

Learn about them
In the words of Dale Carnegie “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”  In a public speaking  situation, that means learn as much about the audience as possible before speaking to them. (This is so true when you are in a position to “Help Your Customers Buy” from you)

So, rock these REAL rules and the result will be engaging conversation and presentations!

Copyright 2012 Sarita Maybin. All rights reserved.

This week’s focus is acknowledging the people you come in contact with. Are you comfortable making eye contact? Do you let people talk without interrupting? Do you learn as much as you can about your customers, guests, clients and members?

Sarita’s book, “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, What DO You Say?” is available on Amazon.com.

Reader Responses

“Great words. I can’t tell you how many meetings I have attended here at work where some of the people are sitting there checking their emails on their iPods or Blackberries, texting or checking phone messages, all while the speaker is trying to keep everyone’s attention. Frankly, it shows a lack of respect for the person speaking. If someone feels the need to check his or her messages, texts, tweets, emails or voice mail, do it before the meeting or wait until after the meeting is over. We are not that important that we have to check EVERY SINGLE MESSAGE that comes across our electronic devices. I have a cellphone, but I leave it turned off while at work. I will call my wife, my parents and my three-year-old’s daycare during my break times away from my desk. I don’t have an iPod, iPad, tablet, Blackberry or SmartPhone. And I don’t plan to get them. There was a story in last  Sunday’s New York Times about how all of these devices are ending the lively art of conversation as we know it.  Very few people want to pick up the phone to have a conversation. I had an old high school friend tell me recently, “Oh, I owe you a phone call,” as if we were keeping a telephone scorecard. I don’t need an excuse or a reason to pick up the phone; I just do it. It is not that hard. When it comes to office encounters, I make a point of making eye contact and asking how they are doing or inquire about their family. We all like to talk about ourselves; that is human nature. Even people I don’t know in the hall, I will make eye contact and say hello. There are a number of people who consciously avoid eye contact. I don’t know what the fear is, but it is there. Making eye contact, saying hello, inquiring about their day or lives, these are acknowledgments and validations of their existence. What is troubling to me, especially in this age of advanced technology, is the number of people who do not acknowledge phone calls or emails, especially when receiving invitations. That says more about those people than anything. Actually, it is sad. Great words, Susan. Thanks for the reminder.” – “Warrior” Joe

WOW Word-Of-the-Week #402: Engagement

April 18, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #402: Engagement 

Engagement – the act of connecting with another person by drawing them in.

My WOW #394 was Involved. Sarita, one of my long-time friends and subscribers, who is also a speaker, had responded by writing, “Involvement is a timely word.  I was just having a conversation about ‘engagement’ this morning when I spoke at CSU San Marcos.  That word, which is similar to involvement, is all the rage right now; CSU San Marcos even has a VP for Community Engagement.  Many university campuses use the term ‘student involvement’ and now have staff that specialize in ‘student engagement.’ ”

That got me thinking that since Sarita’s father was in the Army and she was married to a Marine, that we could come up with the “Rules of Engagement” of service.  So the next two WOW’s will feature, “Sarita’s REAL Rules of Engagement: How to Create a Communication Connection.”


Sarita says…

“My Army childhood and previous marriage to a Marine have taught me the military definition of “rules of engagement”…guidelines on how to respond to various situations in the line of duty.

There’s also now a weekly TV sitcom called “Rules of Engagement” which takes a look at the stages of relationships.

The latter may be closer to the topic of this article…how to create engaging communication, both one-on-one and in front of groups!

Here is the first of what I call my REAL Rules of Engagement:


Find a relevant area on which you can connect with the other person, or the audience.  What are your common interests and experiences?  For example, my experience as a parent is an easy point of connection that I have with many people who might otherwise be different from me.

Copyright 2012 Sarita Maybin. All rights reserved.

This week focus on engaging the people you come in contact with. Do you have a tendency to connect easily? Do you take the time to find common interests? Are you able to draw people into conversation?

Sarita’s book, “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, What DO You Say?” is available on Amazon.com.

Reader Responses

“Agreed. It seems the word engagement is all the rage now, especially in corporate America. We not only have to be engaged in our work, but we have to be engaged with our fellow employees. Employee Engagement is the term most widely used so that we can all bond with each other and feel a bigger part of our workplace environments. I enjoy working with my coworkers. They are fun to be with and provide great camaraderie. After all, Susan, we usually spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our families, so we need to be able to get along. It is a great word, Susan. And we will probably hear more of it in the coming years. Have a great weekend. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe