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Experiment No. 004:
Use the nice-no formula

Your Mission

Say “no” to something this week using the nice-no formula: (1) provide context, (2) share impact, (3) propose alternative.


Saying no


Communication, self-management


A coworker asks you to join them on a client call, but you have a deadline at the end of the day. Practice giving a nice-no by (1) providing context about your current project, (2) sharing the impact of getting it done, and (3) proposing an alternative way to help. 

“Thanks for including me. I’m writing a case study, and I need to have a draft completed by end of the day. This project is exciting because it’s about how clients use our product to achieve their goals! Is there a different way I can support you with this call? Would you like to take 10 minutes beforehand to brainstorm some difficult questions and role play answers?”

Try it! A friend invites you to happy hour on Thursday, but you’re training for a half marathon and scheduled a run for that day. Practice saying “no” using the Nice-No formula.


Saying “no” is a skill! We don’t like doing it because we don’t like disappointing people, but people are more disappointed when we agree to something and resent doing it, miss a deadline, or cancel on them last-minute. Getting good at explaining your priorities – both professional and personal – and offering solutions that meet their needs and your needs is a communication skill we can practice and get great at.

This Experiment was created by Rachel Abrahams