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The Consultant who always said “yes”

Whenever I working with smart consultants in my “Make NO sound like YES” program, there are always a few consultants in the room who say they don’t ever say no.

They are proud of this fact.

And it’s a good attitude to have.

Saying yes all the time works if you have unlimited time, your client is not unreasonable and you don’t want “a life”.

In other words, it’s essential to be able to say “No” sometimes.


Internal consultants whose clients consider their time is “free” need to say no sometimes. Consultants charging a day rate or fixed price need to say no sometimes. Anyone who has a deadline to meet need to say no sometimes.

So saying YES doesn’t always work.

Julienne says yes

For example I worked with Julienne recently. She was one of a 20 resourceful internal consultants in a large public sector organisation. She was chosen to project manage my consulting project.

The first time we met for a brief she didn’t turn up. When I ran to check where she was she said it was a mistake, she had never booked the time with me.

The second briefing she was 20 minutes late.

She changed the date of the program 3 times.

On the first day of the actual program she agreed to meet me at 8am, 1 hour before the program began, so I could set up the room.

She rang at 8:15 to say she was running late but she’d sent a delegate to escort me through security. Her delegate turned up at 8:55.

Julienne is not incompetent. She’s a talented and dedicated internal consultant. She’s also overworked. She’s close to burnout. She’s alienating her internal clients and her suppliers. She’s disappointing her boss who sees her potential, but doesn’t see her delivering what she promised.

Julienne says yes too often

Julienne just says yes too often.

She says yes and the consequence is that she can’t deliver on what she has said yes to.

She needs to know how to say no but make it sound like yes. And then she could start to say no, and begin to heal her client relationships.

You must be discerning: here’s help

The first step is to distinguish the things you should say “Yes” to from those which require a “No”. I’ve developed a Client Request Profiler to help you do this.

Click here to request your copy.

Click here to find out more about my training program on how to Make No sound like Yes.

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