In an earlier video post, I talked about how when you say no to opportunities, you’re really saying yes to yourself. In the video post, I shared how there’s an art to saying no that honors the person sharing the opportunity with you, while also honoring yourself. You certainly don’t want to burn bridges. You never know when that person will come around again, so while you don’t have to grovel, you do have to mind yourself when you respond.
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Maria, from Collecting Moments had a few questions and while I’ve already responded to her offline, I thought I would share the exchange with you because we’re a sharing bunch around here. Let’s get started!
I just read through your blog and listened to your Vlog about saying no to an opportunity. I absolutely loved it! I can relate. As a new blogger, there’s a few opportunities that have come my way, and sometimes it’s hard to say no. I’m fairly fresh (my blog is only a year old) and I would think that every opportunity lends itself to more doors being opened–whether it’s monetary or just exposure…I do have a question, however.
You mention on your vlog that there’s an art to saying no to opportunities, that we should do it in a way that honors both the person that’s presenting the opportunity and us as well. How does one phrase that without sounding dismissive or just plain, “no thanks, I’m not interested.” I would assume that burning bridges is the last thing we want when we say no (because who knows there might be other projects that fit our criteria from that same company in the future).
I guess what I’m trying to say is how do I say thank you, but no, without cutting ties with the person/company that offered it in the first place?
Here’s how I do it:
Dear Sir Smiles,
Thank you so much for thinking of me for [insert this opportunity here]. I am flattered that you thought of my blog as an avenue to promote [insert promotion here].
In reviewing your offer, I don’t feel it’s a fit for me at this time. I do have a solid [insert your industry here] friend/s in mind and am happy to make the connection for you if you’re interested. Her/His name is [insert name here]. She/He blogs about [insert relevant topic here].
While this particular collaboration wasn’t in the stars, I look forward to others you think may be a fit in the future.
[However you sign off in an email]
You’ll notice that I created a “Graceful No” sandwich. Can you see?
- Bread aka Flattery: Thank you so much for thinking of me for [insert this opportunity here]. I am flattered that you thought of my blog as an avenue to promote [insert promotion here].
- Meat aka Your Graceful No: In reviewing your offer, I don’t feel it’s a fit for me at this time. I do have a solid [insert your industry here] friend/s in mind and am happy to make the connection for you if you’re interested. Her/His name is [insert name here]. She/He blogs about [insert relevant topic here].
- Bread aka Gracious Ending: While this particular collaboration wasn’t in the stars, I look forward to others you think may be a fit in the future.
This kind of email, honors you by sticking to your boundaries, and honors the person offering you the opportunity because you are sincerely trying to help them find a match. The caveat to this is, if the person offering the opportunity to you is difficult or shady, you don’t want to refer them to anyone.
I experienced this recently and paused before I responded. I thought that there must be someone I could refer. I remembered that my community is just as important to me as honoring this person offering the opportunity. I removed the “meat” part of my email sandwich and pressed send.
You don’t want to damage the relationships you’ve cultivated with people in your industry by referring nonsense to them. Trust me, they won’t appreciate it.
Maria continues to write:
I’ve been getting many inquiries for product reviews lately. All of which have compensated me for the product and the shipping free of charge. Like I said, my blog is still small, so I’m not expecting monetary compensation for these. The fact that they send me products for free is good enough for me for now.
With that said, I still want some compensation for my work (as you know, it takes great time and effort to craft a worthy post, and I put 110% in it every time.) I’m not asking for much, mainly it’s in terms of networking or exposure (a retweet/mention on twitter, a shout out on instagram, a link of my post on their blog).
There’s been a few instances where I’d have trouble communicating that to my clients. The fact that my blog is still so small gives me a bit of a complex, and I don’t quite know how to word that I appreciate the opportunity, but would like some networking and exposure in return.
Any insights? Should I even ask for this or just let it go and appreciate the fact that they even reached out to me?
I got’chu. First of all, don’t don’t let being small give you a complex. Just as you don’t want to burn bridges with bigger bloggers, they shouldn’t want to burn bridges with you either. With hard work, you will be the next big blogger that they wish they were nicer to back in the day. #firsthandexperience
I think this question was around asking for social media promotion/networking instead of monetary gain? For now, that makes TOTAL sense. Sometimes, you just gotta ask for stuff, you know? In this case, here’s what I would say:
Dear Ms. Fancy Pants,
I was so excited to receive your product in the mail for review. The post about [insert product] is about to go live tomorrow. To help make this a complete success for your brand, I would appreciate any social media shout outs that you could give of the blog post review.
To make this easy for you, please see the pinnable images, pre-crafted tweets/FB updates and the permalink to the post. All you have to do is copy, paste and share!
Please let me know if you have any questions at all. I can’t wait to share [insert product] with my audience!
[However you sign off in an email]
In any working relationship, remember to make it easy for the other person always, and in all ways.
Appreciate that they reached out to you, but don’t forget that they reached out to you. You are providing a service (and value) to them. You are sharing an audience you nurtured with them. They wouldn’t have access to your people without YOU.
Always know that you are inherently worth it. Every.single.time.
So let’s all follow Maria on all the things. She’s at @MBette827 on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter!
I have created a secret Pinterest board for The Art of Saying No with inspirational quotes to keep you on track. If you’re interested in having access, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll hook you up. I feel like we should start a revolution? Come on! Don’t say no to this one!
How would you have responded to Maria? Help a sista out in the comments! Remember, if you have any questions for me, please reach out. I would love to share the answer as a blog post along with the social platform/s of your choice!
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