Taking No For An Answer

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A few weeks ago I wrote about doing less and not more when it comes to volunteer and extracurricular activities this coming year. But what if you are the one asking – the one needing volunteers on a committee? How do you respond when people say no?

My friend shared this sage advice with me: If you ask someone to volunteer for something – big or small – and that person doesn’t have a positive reaction, or is really wishy washy, you really shouldn’t push her to commit. Say “I totally understand if you can’t do this” and move on to the next person on your list. Why? It’s obvious her heart is not fully in the project and, if that’s the case, she probably isn’t going to be the kind of volunteer you want or need her to be.

My friend’s advice totally resonated with me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across people in volunteer situations that are flaky, resentful, or unresponsive. I always wondered: why are they even doing this? Now I know. Either they didn’t know how to say no, or the asker had really good persuasion skills. (Or probably a combination of both!)

I think it’s perfectly acceptable for someone to ask for a few days to thoughtfully consider if they want to take on a certain role, especially if it’s a big role. But if you have to call and email and beg someone for weeks to get a yay or nay, then you should take that as a hint. Most likely the person just doesn’t know how to say no (she needs to read this post!) and is hoping you will find someone else (which you should!).

Now I know sometimes it’s hard to find people to volunteer and commit for things, but not having uncommitted people in the mix will probably save time and energy in the long run!

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29 thoughts on “Taking No For An Answer

  1. Congratulations Chancey!! You are the winner!! I just emailed you but let me know if you did not receive it. Also, thanks to everyone else that entered!!

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