Coaching Firm Lawyers and In-House Counsel

How to Say NO (and Not Tick People Off)

Protect Your Marketing Time by Learning How to Say NO!

Where does your non-billable time go?

Committee work? Administrative tasks? How about to those random requests that fall on your desk?

Think about it. What if you could turn that non-billable time into a strategic way to build your business?

All you need is the word "no."

Saying "no" - tactfully - will help protect your valuable marketing time and build your business.

Here four suggestions on how to say "no."

1. "No, because..."

Be honest and explain why you are saying "no."

For instance: "I'd like to help you on the committee, but I promised myself this year that I would use my non-billable time to focus on my marketing plan."

Offering a legitimate, honest reason will elicit respect among your peers.

2. The partial "no."

Offer an alternative like, "I can't write up that RFP, but I'd be glad to review your draft." You could even recommend someone else for the job, a colleague who has shown an interest in getting involved in business development.

3. The "not now" approach.

Kindly let them know that you are just too busy to take on a new task or project.

Example: "I can't give that speech to the local bar association this year, but please keep me in mind for next year when my schedule may have eased up."

4.  Just plain "no."

Sometimes no explanation is needed.

For instance: "I'm flattered that you asked me to write the practice group description. At the moment, however, I just don't have the time to do it justice."

By saying "no," colleagues will have a clear sense of your priorities and commitment to growing your practice. And, yes, you will still be viewed as a team player.

Make time for business development by learning when and how to say "no."


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