Learning to Take No for an Answer

Lauren Krause
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Administrative assistants need to possess a variety of good job skills, including rapid typing, multitasking, and operating office equipment. However, the ability to take no for an answer is often overlooked. You've probably read numerous online articles about administrative assistant skills that tell you that you need to learn how to say no, but learning how to take no for an answer can be challenging.

According to a recent article posted on The Times of India's website, good communication skills are imperative to building solid professional relationships. Learning to take no for an answer is part of communicating effectively and one of the most important administrative assistant skills you can have. For example, imagine creating a slideshow presentation for your boss's next meeting: you think a portion of the presentation would look better if you make a few changes. However, when you ask your boss if you can make changes, he or she says tells you no. In situations like these, it's unprofessional to refute your boss's answer and continue to argue your point—this demonstrates how one of the most important administrative assistant skills you can possess is the ability to take no for an answer.

To learn how to take no for an answer, you need to learn to not take things personally. As an administrative assistant, your job is to provide clerical support to other workers—you're a critical part of the team, and without you, the people you work with wouldn't be able to accomplish as much work as they do. However, you need to remember that you don't always see a project or task in its entirety. When you create presentation slides for your boss, you're only creating one part of the presentation. If your boss declines your offer to make specific changes, that doesn't mean your input isn't valued—it simply means that the project needs to be completed in a certain way.  

Good communication skills require the ability to access each situation on an individual basis and respond appropriately. Because communicating professionally is one of the most critical administrative assistant skills you can possess, you must learn to accept rejection. If you find yourself ready to argue a point you feel is valid, step away from the situation for a moment. Take some time to ask yourself whether what you're suggesting is crucial to the project or whether you're having an emotional reaction. If your point is important to the project's success, don't take no for an answer—but if it isn't, accept the rejection gracefully to maintain your professionalism.

Your job is imperative to the success of those you support. Your coworkers probably value your opinion more than you realize. To be successful, one of the most important administrative assistant skills you can develop is dealing with rejection. You probably have plenty of strong job skills, but if you can't communicate professionally and accept rejection gracefully, you're likely to have more difficulty succeeding.


(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)


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