Wednesday, July 4, 2012

“How to Decline Politely?” - Professor M.S.Rao

“Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back.” - Thomas Sowell

When someone requests you for a favor you find it tough to say ‘No’ right! When someone phones you for help you find it tough to decline right! Then you must know how to decline politely and assertively without hurting others.  

Now-a-days, most of the people are busy with their work pressures and when someone sends unsolicited mail for favor they find it uncomfortable to decline.  When you achieve big you will be bombarded with such requests, and if you fail to decline politely and assertively you will be misunderstood as a head strong person. Therefore, all achievers and the busy people must know the art of polite communication without hurting others.

Sandwich Decline

Adopt ‘yes-no-yes’ formula like sandwich feedback where we correct the negative behavior of the person starting with praise, concluding with praise and correcting the negative behavior in the middle.  Similarly, start with a congratulatory note followed by your inability to favor citing the reasons succinctly, and conclude with wishes. Here is a sample template to decline politely:

Template - Declining a Request for Book Endorsement

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your email requesting an endorsement for your new book.

I have put a moratorium on offering endorsements. My travel schedule and business commitments prevent me from giving your book the attention it deserves in order to provide an appropriate endorsement.

I wish you well in your publishing endeavor.


Remember that when you are approached with a request the sender has regards to you, and expectations from you. Therefore, make sure that the sender understands your constraints; empathizes with you; and feels happy with your polite response. It is tough to climb the tree but it is easy to have a free fall from the top.  Similarly, it is tough to climb the ladder of success and easy to fall from the top.  When you achieve success in a hard way you must learn to maintain it.  In addition, your humility index must go up along with your success. Hence, be humble and decline politely to have an everlasting impression on the senders.

Where Knowledge is Wealth

Dear readers,

I would appreciate your comments about this article.

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