The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes

The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes

William Ury

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0553804987

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the language. Every day we find ourselves in situations where we need to say No–to people at work, at home, and in our communities–because No is the word we must use to protect ourselves and to stand up for everything and everyone that matters to us.

But as we all know, the wrong No can also destroy what we most value by alienating and angering people. That’s why saying No the right way is crucial. The secret to saying No without destroying relationships lies in the art of the Positive No, a proven technique that anyone can learn.

This indispensable book gives you a simple three-step method for saying a Positive No. It will show you how to assert and defend your key interests; how to make your No firm and strong; how to resist the other side’s aggression and manipulation; and how to do all this while still getting to Yes. In the end, the Positive No will help you get not just to any Yes but to the right Yes, the one that truly serves your interests.

Based on William Ury’s celebrated Harvard University course for managers and professionals, The Power of a Positive No offers concrete advice and practical examples for saying No in virtually any situation. Whether you need to say No to your customer or your coworker, your employee or your CEO, your child or your spouse, you will find in this book the secret to saying No clearly, respectfully, and effectively.

In today’s world of high stress and limitless choices, the pressure to give in and say Yes grows greater every day, producing overload and overwork, expanding e-mail and eroding ethics. Never has No been more needed. A Positive No has the power to profoundly transform our lives by enabling us to say Yes to what counts–our own needs, values, and priorities.

Understood this way, No is the new Yes. And the Positive No may be the most valuable life skill you’ll ever learn!

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interaction. Saying No cuts through that by naming the truth of what’s happening. In fact, naming the truth (e.g., ‘I feel uncomfortable because it’s late and you’re standing too close to me. Would you back up please?’) often de-escalates the situation. It says you’re ready to stand by your truth/version of the encounter, instead of letting them frame it their way (e.g., ‘You wanted me to come over’).” You can express not only negative feelings but positive ones. “The customer was demanding a

the larger customer base. “In order to maintain the low prices that all our customers have come to expect, I cannot offer customized versions. Would you be interested in exploring whether there is a solution to your particular problem using off-the-shelf components?” Consider how one manager, a participant in one of my seminars, carefully explained to her superiors why she wouldn’t accept the new job they offered her by invoking not only her own interest but the interests of others in the

his plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to punish the sins of their inhabitants, Abraham dares to say No to God’s plan—positively. “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?” he asks. Behind his No, Abraham is really saying Yes! to the value of human life. Abraham follows up his No with a proposal—a Yes?. “If I can find fifty good people, will you still destroy the cities?” he asks. God agrees to Abraham’s proposal. Abraham persists: “What about forty-five?” God again agrees.

they want from what you want. That canyon might be filled with anxiety and concern about their interests, as well as worry about losing face. If you want them to say Yes, your task is to build them a golden bridge across that canyon. Three principal obstacles stand in the way of the other saying Yes to your proposal. First, they may have some unmet need or concern. Second, even if they personally might be willing to agree, they might be worried about the opinion of key constituents or

government of national unity.” So in making his summation, Mandela reached out to his opponent and said straight to the cameras, “The exchanges between Mr. de Klerk and me should not obscure one important fact. I think we are a shining example to the entire world of people drawn from different racial groups who have a common loyalty, a common love, to their common country…. In spite of my criticism of Mr. de Klerk,” Mandela said, turning to look directly at de Klerk, “sir, you are one of those I

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