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The Importance of Saying 'No'

Berenice Mulubah, Liberian Poet and Entertainment blogger
NO is a word that is sometimes difficult to utter and harder to hear.  Saying YES seems to be more fun, saying yes to parties, dating, working out, work itself, shopping, brunch, online research, social media ... the list is endless.
Then there are times when you have to say NO to a loved one (like friends and family), or a client.
As a blogger, I find myself in both situations, having to say no to a friend or client.  Blogging has been around since the late 90's, and it is growing into a billion dollar industry, yet, there are many who are unaware of what this industry is all about.  Questions are expected, but it do get frustrating and annoying at times, especially when you have to explain it over and over, to the same individual.  Being a Liberian Entertainment blogger, a lot of Liberian entertainers who are not knowledgeable on the job description of a blogger, mistake me for a promoter and come to me to seek help getting their product promoted, of course, I have to say NO and explain why.

The Importance of Saying 'No'

I had my own personal struggles with saying "No" to Liberian entertainers. At first, I just accepted any request, without question. But that didn't mean I fulfilled the requests. Because I couldn't bring myself to say "No" to somebody I perceived need the help, I ended up with too much to do, and I had to drop a few of the tasks. Most importantly, slowing down the growth of my blog, because I ended up doing promotion, instead of blogging.
Over time, I got braver, and I started saying "No" to clients. But sometimes that came across as aggressive. As a result, some entertainers hesitanted to ask me for things, and this hesitation limited the free exchange of ideas. Through these experiences, and from watching other people, I realized three things:
  • It's important to say "No" to clients when you can't do what's being asked, or when you think their request is not beneficial to your business.
  • There are good ways of saying "No," and there are bad ways of saying "No."
  • You can learn the good ways of saying "No."
The immediate benefit of turning down a request you find inappropriate is that you don't do work that you think shouldn't be done. In addition to that immediate benefit, saying "No" to a client has at least four good secondary effects:
  • It helps you to gain the customer's esteem. Clients respect you more when they see you aren't a pushover. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they place a higher value on your opinion and on your work. If saying "No" is difficult, remember that it's far more important to be respected by the client than to be liked.
  • By telling the client what you think, you're doing what you're paid to do. Even when it's uncomfortable for him or her to hear, the customer wants your expert opinion. Once they get over any initial shock of being turned down, most clients appreciate the fact that you're applying your professional judgment.
  • By saying "No," you protect yourself. You can't do everything for everybody, and you want to be compensated fairly for what you do. Taking on too much work takes away the time you might apply to more strategic tasks. And remember, you do have a life outside of the job. Don't fall into the same trap as countless other people, who have so much trouble turning things down that their jobs wind up encroaching on their personal lives.
  • By saying "No" when you mean it, you maintain personal integrity. It's good to make a habit of telling people the truth. Sometimes the truth is that you don't intend to do something, or you think you have a better idea.   Hope this helps other business owners out there.

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