(This is Part 2 of the Repeat After Me series. Read Part 1 here.)
I continue with thoughts about memorable phrases that can be placed in your communication toolbox until they are needed. Last time I wrote about beating back people-pleasing with the phrase, “Do me a favor and let me say no“. This time I’ll stay on theme with another which is particularly helpful you’re around pushy people in pushy situations: “I’ll decline that.”
Now hang on, this will be good. The secret sauce is in both the wording and the delivery.
You know the gig. You’re in line to get the rental car and the eager and shame-ready customer service specialist corners you into option 1, 2, or 3 of the unnecessary insurance or tank of gas. You kindly explain that you don’t think you’ll do that, and the verbal wrangling ensues. “Is there a reason?” Of course, your mistake is in explaining your position, because explaining only leads to sparring. You’ll do much better if you simply say, “I’ll decline that. Thank you”.
And leave it at that.
No explanation, no accommodating response, no internal pressure to land your decision so all are happy. This is the point in negotiating where the next person who speaks loses. So hold your tongue.
(Once I heard a friend say to the car rental agent, “Listen, you’re awesome. If I were hiring, I’d hire you. But I’m not interested, so let’s leave it at that.” I thought that was a more gracious answer than the time I said, “You’re gonna have to trust me with this.”)
At any rate, this really helps. Repeat after me. When pushy people take advantage of your people-pleasing tendencies, include the word “decline” in your response, then hold your tongue, and everybody wins.