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How to Be Impossible to Turn Down

How to Be Impossible to Turn Down

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    Like it or not, much of our success comes due to the help of other people. The opportunities you get, jobs you hold, or fun and useful things you’re able to do often come because someone else was persuaded to bring you along.

    To take advantage of these opportunities, however, you’ve got to be able to ask, and ask well. Learning how to ask well, how to apply well, and how to persuade someone to give you a chance is a critical feature of being successful in any field.

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    Thankfully, it’s not a difficult thing to do. All you have to do is come across as completely and utterly irreplaceable. Simple, right? Here are a few tips to help along the way.

    “Because”

    So you’re applying for something. Don’t start your letter with “I’d really like to have this job.” Whoever’s reading your letter can probably guess that. Why do you want the job? Put a “because” in that first sentence – why is this job, in particular, the one you want?

    That “because” helps to set you apart, to show your passion and desire for the job. People want to work and spend time with people who want to be there. So why do you want this opportunity more than any other?

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    Be Unique

    Whether it’s a job, a school, or another opportunity, odds are good that if you want it so does someone else. When you’re asking or applying, make sure to remember what it is that you offer that no one else does. Maybe it’s an experience, or a class you took, or some characteristic of your personality that makes you different from all the other people. Highlight that.

    No matter what some people might say, there’s no rhyme or reason to standing out as an applicant or prospect – just focus on what makes you you, and different from everyone else. That’s what stands out.

    Provide Value

    A lot of people have a tendency to ask for help or opportunities as if they’re asking for some grand favor. “I’d be thrilled, and honored,” they sometimes say. While this isn’t a bad thing, you’re going to be more successful if you’re able to communicate that the benefit is mutua l- people are simply more likely to help you out if there’s something in it for them.

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    Remember what you have to offer, and make it known. If you get the gig, it’s not because of some grand show of altruism; it’s because you were the best for it, and you bring the most value.

    Be Confident, But Polite

    The point above can make it seem like you should always remember you’re the best, and should tell it to anyone who will listen. That won’t work either. Though being confident in your abilities and recognizing of your value is important, so too is remembering that you’re getting something out of it as well.

    Guest posts for blogs is a great example – you’re helping them by writing a post, saving them the work, and adding a new voice to the blog. They’re helping you by providing you published work, a link to your work, and some exposure and practice for you. You’re helping each other – be cognizant, and thankful, of that.

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    Opportunities offered by other people can be a source of major success for all of us. Whether you’re looking for a job, a gig, or a worthwhile experience, your success is frequently in the hands of other people.

    The key to landing these opportunities is to make yourself impossible to say no to. By remembering these tips, you’re in a position to make yourself incredibly hard to turn down, and the success you see in landing these opportunities will start to rise.

    What else can we do to set ourselves apart?

    Photo: nick see

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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