“I Won’t Be Able to Do That”

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Continuing my series on simple but effective communications phrases, I offer another empowering and mutually respectful line to you: “I won’t be able to do that.”  This simple phrase is useful whenever you need to “excuse” yourself from a request. Let’s take a closer look at it by using an example.

The Setting

Imagine this scenario: a friend asks for help with a weekend project or wants to drop in on you. This presents an awkward dilemma for you, either because you ...

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Let Me Get Back to You

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Along with my other suggestions, I’d like to offer additional ideas to help you improve your communications skills. One of these ideas I’ve dubbed “let me get back to you.”

When You’re Put on the Spot

Have you ever felt pressured to give an immediate “yes” or “no” to someone? For example, a friend calls asking you to help with a weekend project or that he wants to drop in on you unexpectedly because he is bored and in the area. In ...

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Three Questions for Awkward Situations: Question 3

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In two recent writings I have suggested questions to use in initiating conversations with others. These are constructive ways to begin and continue a dialog with someone. The third question explores means to help others open up to you, while simultaneously showing them respect.

Question 3: “Can I share my thoughts with you?”

In Question #3 we saying, “With your permission, may I share my thoughts with you (family member, friend, colleague or boss)?”

Question #3 Invites an Ongoing “Dialogue,” 

After the other person ...

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Three Questions to Ask in Awkward Situations: Question 2

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Question #2 – “Would you help me understand?”

In my last article, the first of three questions was offered that I used to empower people in awkward situation. The first question was, “Would you help me?” You can re-read Part #1 as I refresher, but in general, Question #1 offers a humble, low-key, and direct way to ask others for help. To the receiver of this question, it communicates a need in an inviting, non-controlling, and relationship-building way. If you have ...

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