‘No’ is one of those monosyllabic words which are the hardest to utter, especially in the context of your professional life. Yet, the word ‘no’ is regarded by some as one of the most empowering. Wanna know why?

Check out: Why ‘No’ is the Kindest Word in the Professional Lexicon






  • refine – make minor changes so as to improve or clarify (a theory or method)
  • acumen – the ability to make good judgements and take quick decisions
  • mutual – held in common by two or more parties
  • alacrity – brisk and cheerful readiness
  • ditch – get rid of or give up
  • counterintuitive – contrary to intuition or to common-sense expectation
  • inevitable – certain to happen; unavoidable


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • In what way is the word ‘no’ efficient?
  • In what way did the author’s friends show respect towards her saying ‘no’ when she was at college?
  • Do you agree that the word ‘no’ is a shelter from overwhelm and overload? Why? Why not?
  •  Do you agree that the word ‘no’ makes your ‘yes’ more powerful?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

Some psychologists ________ tell you that “no” is the most dangerous word in the world. I don’t buy it.

So often interpreted ________ negative, I’m convinced that “no” is one of ________ kindest words in ________ English language. My brilliant co-founder recentlypublished a post where she referred ________ her last year and a half in New York as “professional-finishing school.”

________ been here for about the same amount of time, I too have come to find that this city ________ refined my professional acumen. The most unexpected change is that I now look at the word “no” ________ an entirely different lens.


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