The Power of a Positive No

Thoughts  How to Say No and Still Get to Yes by William Ury, Random House Audio 2007, 7 hours 15 minutes

Challenge: Company Book Club
Genre: Business/Professional Development
 Why I read this now:  To participate in the company book club.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have always respected those who can say NO without fanfare or excuses. They are being true to themselves. This is a terrific skill to develop.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Ury is a negotiation consultant. He is a co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and directs the Global Negotiation Initiative. He has a series of books on this topic; basic common sense but very challenging advice on how to be effective in solving conflict.

Find your deeper YES (what you do want!) – state your NO – suggest a yes to negotiate a win-win (yes?)

WHAT’s GOOD: SO so good. Though, at times, the book tends to feel repetitive, that only stresses how hard this stuff is!  To respect and not react, to be centered and grounded and know what we really want for ourselves before we have to work towards agreements with others. Great examples, wonderful stories, terrific suggestions on how to do all of this.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The challenge lies in getting beyond the recognition of how valuable this approach is to actually USING it the precise moment it is needed.

I give this quote:

The great problem today is that we have divorced our Yeses from our Nos. Yes without No is appeasement, whereas No without Yes is war. Yes without No destroys one’s own satisfaction, whereas No without Yes destroys one’s relationship with others. We need both Yes and No together. Yes is the key word of community. No, the key word of individuality. Yes is the key word of connection, No the key word of protection. Yes is the key word of peace, No the key word of justice.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned.




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6 thoughts on “The Power of a Positive No

  1. No is SO difficult to say these days, isn’t it? I think I have the opposite problem though. In the work environment, I tend to nay-say any idea first as I think of all the obstacles. It tends to make me say no more often than yes. It is once I have had a chance to process any new idea or suggestion where my no turns to yes.

    1. A quick no often comes from a place of fear… Self-protection. But good that you can give more thought and come around later IF the idea turns out workable.

  2. My favourite comment is, “Do you want your No fast or slow?” Ever since I heard that I say No all the time. Life is too short to say Yes to stuff you don’t like, believe in or want to do. I find people get used to it after awhile.

    1. That works! It all takes the fortitude to stand your ground and agree with yourself on the deeper YES.

      I just need to work on KNOWING that deeper yes thing.

  3. I like the sound of this one. Yes/connection; No/protection. When my kids were young and asked to do something that made me uneasy (lots of first time things, like staying by themselves or later going to the mall by themselves), I sometimes asked them to put it in writing. Why I should let them do whatever– It got me off the hook while I examined my own problems with their growing independence.

    1. I recently read an article by a mom who talked about how often she denied her 8 yo daughter’s request for ‘help in the kitchen’ and yet the kid loved watching cooking shows, so she finally relents (afraid of the mess, etc) and the daughter now cooks 3 of the family meals each week and Mom is the helper. Great article. You reminded me of it. 🙂

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