You can hear yourself can't you?  You're asked a question or someone's asking you to do something and all you can hear in your head is "no I can't" or "no, not another thing" or "no way mate!".  It's so natural to be answering the question directly as it's being asked instead of taking a second to re-position your response.  It's about saying what you can do, what you're able to do, what's possible without actually saying no. There are a myriad of ways to do this and too many to list here for you but it's very much part of the secret sauce of being a more savvy communicator - being able to say "no" effectively without saying it. One of the ways you can immediately take and use, is the "What Can I Do" principle.  Think about this scenario for a second - you're at your desk, the phone rings and suddenly, as the phrase goes "someone's urgency becomes your emergency".  Or does it have to? Of course it's all about context and recognizing a true jump-to-it moment but a lot of the time the person making the request will be happy with you saying "Ok, of course I can get that to you and I'll send it across by 4pm" for example.  You're acknowledging the request, you're being helpful and you're saying what you can do.  You don't have to list all the things you're doing and all the "reasons" why you can't do it, you just cut to the chase and say "Yes, of course, I'll do that for you by XYZ o'clock".  They can always come back and tell you if that's too long or  too late but what you've told them by your first response is "yes, and I'm making space for your request a bit later." So many people immediately say "oh, no - I'm right in the middle of XYZ and up to my eyes in things, I can't possibly do that too" or "Oh, ok then" and drop what they're in the middle of, what they're already concentrating on, and rush off to attend to this request. Interestingly, it will take you longer to complete your own piece of work because you've broken off and started something else.  I think I read somewhere that it takes at least 5 or 6 minutes to get your brain back in tune with something you're concentrating on when you break off.  That's why constantly checking emails, always answering your phone because it rings means that - as well as the physical distraction - the mental distraction makes it take longer for you too. So, what can you do now? How to I learn more about Kay? To have the opportunity to discuss any blind spots you know you have or things that are slowing you down or holding you back as you connect, persuade and compel people at work; click here to apply for a complimentary conversation with Kay. Article reproduced with permission of Kay White, Communication Specialist and Mentor at Kay shows professionals how to be understood. Get quicker, faster and better results by becoming a more effective, influential and savvy communicator - everywhere in your life.