Can You Take No for an Answer?

“No” can be hard to take, especially if you’re pitching for a new contract or introducing a well-thought-through idea – one you know will work.

But “no” can also be empowering.

It’s how you take the “no” – and what you do with it that counts.

Flight, Fight or Engage?

  • You can hear “No” and do a runner.
  • You can hear “No”, aggressively argue your case and burn your bridges.
  • Or you can hear “No” and politely, curiously ask “why not?”.

In most cases, it’s the latter that will get you further. You’ll hear some different perspectives, learn more about the needs of your target, have the opportunity to discuss your pitch further, and come away with some valuable ideas for how to finesse your pitch next time round.

In the midst of the discussion, you might also manage to convince the person you’re pitching to that with a bit of adjustment, your idea/skills/ knowledge may be just what they’re looking for.

Of course, feedback may not always be objective and useful – it may be purely subjective, biased, or due to misinterpretation of your message. However, it is still worth listening to and learning from – if one person misunderstands your message, perhaps you need to look at your delivery.

So, don’t internalise failure, don’t feel judged and rejected – embrace it, learn from it and be strong enough to finesse and go again.