I’m in an exit row that has only two seats instead of the three in all the other rows. This guy behind me, in the third (window) seat just tapped my shoulder and made a request that puzzled me.
He motioned to my bag on the floor to my right (where the window seat would be if there was one) and asked that I move it to under the seat in front of me during takeoff. It’s funny — when he said it I paused a bit because he sounded just like a flight attendant, word choice and everything.
I asked him why he would make such a request and he explained that,
“If the plane goes off the runway during takeoff, that bag could become a projectile and it could fly anywhere in the cabin.”
Mind you, the bag in question contains some snack foods and my MacBook laptop — I will forego my duties as an exit-row passenger before I let anything happen to this bag (metaphorically speaking… Maybe).
I told this guy that nothing would happen to the bag and he shouldn’t worry. He asked,
“Could you please do it?”
He looked away in mild exasperation and sat back in his seat.
I used to work at this gym where I sold memberships (I worked at more than one gym). Most of the people who walked in walked out either with a new membership or 100% sure they weren’t joining. Sometimes though, a person would come check out the facility and say they needed to think about their decision before joining or not joining and I would call them a day or two later.
I showed this one guy the gym — I recall him being a police officer — and he told me to follow up with him in 48 hours. I did, left him a voicemail, and he called me back at my desk.
“Dre, I’ve decided to not join the gym, so there is no need for any further discussion on this matter.”
I was a pretty good membership salesperson, seasoned in handling objections. But I have to admit, I wasn’t experienced with a stone cold rejection of the gym. All I could say was OK, thanks — and let him go. If he’d given any reason or explanation for his decision, I would’ve turned it around on him and probably closed the sale. But he left me no options. In this case, he clearly won.
The easiest and the hardest word to say is No. Only got two letters, only takes a second to say it. – Chuck D
Many people are inexperienced with No. How many times have you sensed someone had made a “No” decision on something, but couldn’t bring themselves to actually say it? Creative ways to delay conversations, outright avoidance, all kids of excuses — instead of just telling you “No”.
And when it’s used against someone — just a flat out “No” with no explanation or softeners — people are stopped dead in their tracks, frozen in surprise.
“No” is a liberating word. It conveys exactly what you mean with little effort and zero openings for negotiation or questioning (the “easiest” part). You’ll find that the subject of “No” is completely taken aback by the bluntness required to use it (what makes it “hard” to use even when it’s exactly what you’re thinking).
Try using it. You’ll feel freer and more confident in your communications. And you can stop bullshitting people with insincere tact that does no more than waste time.