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Managing Expectations: Working with People Who Want More, Better, Faster, Sooner, NOW! by Gerald M. Weinberg, Naomi Karten

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11. When Appropriate, Just Say Whoa

How to say no so it sounds like yes

A PC specialist was heading down the hall to help a customer in distress when he was sidetracked by another customer who had a problem. Off he went to help the second customer. “How could I say no?” he asked when we discussed this situation. “The person needed my help, and I wanted to be responsive.” Responsive? The first customer didn’t think he was.

When customers ask for help, do you find it hard to say no, even when you can justifiably do so? If so, read on, because this guideline is about the art and science of saying no: the art of saying no when you must and the science of establishing policies and practices to reduce the number of circumstances in which saying no ...

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