1% Everyday – Stop trying to get people to say yes … you want “No”

It is very hard for people to say yes.

Saying yes is a commitment with too much ambiguity.

Trying to get someone to “yes” will always slow down the process.

Saying “no” is always the easiest.

“People have been conditioned to expect hidden hooks in yes. They’ve been trapped by it in the past. Someone has used yes with them as a micro-commitment or a tie-down and used it as a means of trapping them into their desired course of action. Some negotiators even refer to this as cornering.” – Black Swan Group

Here are examples of how to use questions to get a “no” response that moves things forward:


  1. “Is now a bad time to talk?” instead of “Is now a good time to talk?”
  2. “Is it a ridiculous idea … ?” instead of “Is this a good idea?” or “Would you be willing to … ?”
  3. “Are you against … ? or Do you disagree?”” instead of “Do you agree?” or “Do you approve?”
  4. “Have you given up on … ?” instead of “Are you still interested in … ?”

– Black Swan Group

Chris Voss, CEO of Black Swan Group gives examples (20 mins).

Consider the following:

  • When was the last time you felt that a decision-maker was dragging their feet and having a hard time committing?
  • Try getting people to say yes to even simple decisions like eating at a restaurant you want or getting your friend to go shopping with you. Next time ask the “no” oriented question instead of “do you want to … “ try “would now be a bad time to …” or “is it a ridiculous idea to get sushi tonight …”
  • Practice this “no” question as you close out a meeting “Do you have any remaining concerns?” “Do you need another meeting?”

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