Management Tip of the Day: 3 Steps to Get No for an Answer

Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:23am EDT
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BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and (http:\\ Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"When making a pitch, no one wants to hear no. In the absence of a yes, you may think that maybe is preferable. But when maybe is a long prelude to no, it can be a waste of time and resources. It's better to hear no sooner rather than later. Here are three steps to driving a decision:

1. Be clear about your request. People often say maybe because they are confused about what you're asking of them.

2. Set a deadline. When meeting a prospective investor, buyer, or customer, explain when you need a decision. A deadline can yield a quicker yes or no.

3. Know when silence means no. People hate to say no as much as you hate to hear it. When you sense that your audience is going to say no, but hasn't built up the courage to express it, provide an out. Something as simple as, "I assume it's a pass for now?" can help the other party be definitive about its decision."

- Today's Management Tip was adapted from "How to Get to No" by Anthony Tjan.