We have all been there, because we like to be helpful we find it difficult to say “NO” to others, for such a small word it has a lot of negative connotations. Unfortunately we have to learn to say “no” otherwise we become victims of constant interruptions from others. What we have to do is learn to say “no” in other ways. There are a number of ways to say “no nicely” and “Yes but…” statements are just one way.
When to use “Yes but…” statements
When you are the victim of an interruption, or a conversation shows no signs of ending, try a “Yes but….” statement. Start with a positive declaration of your interest and support, and finish with a compelling reason why you must return to what you were doing, The following statement is an example:
“Yes I do want your input on that, but right now a customer is waiting for me to call them with a quote.”
Making “Yes but…” statements work
To make “Yes but…” statements work, one part or the other must meet either of the following two criteria:
- Time is limited for reasons outside of your control, and you have no choice but to cut the interruption or conversation short
- The person to whom you are talking will gain by leaving you alone.
There are probably millions of possible “yes but…” statements. Below are some typical statements, that you can combine to use as an interruption stopper.
“I wish I could help, but right now I have to finish this report, as my boss is waiting for it.”
No Matter what you say, it should always be followed by decisive action. Don’t wait for the other person to leave or stop talking; take the action required to end the conversation or interruption and get yourself back on track, shake his or her hand and walk away, say goodbye and hang up the telephone, or turn towards your computer and start pounding away on the keyboard.
This is particularly important when you are asked for “a few minutes to discuss an important issue”. This is one of the most common interruptions, you have to be firm and stand your ground, you can promise to help as soon as you have finished what you are doing, or suggest someone who might be able to provide assistance sooner. But don’t give in unless your boss or someone higher up is doing the asking. Nothing takes only “a few minutes.”
Till Next Time
The Time Doctor – Mike Gardner