Using Email Templates to Say “No” with Grace

Earlier this week, a good friend of mine who also happens to be an author and blogger asked if I had an email template for saying “no.” Apparently, as a result of her rising visibility, she is getting numerous requests from people who want to meet with her or “pick her brain” about this or that.

Screenshot of My Email Templates

I get lots of requests like this, too. In fact, I have identified eleven different kinds of requests. I hate saying “no” to people. In fact, I don’t know anyone who enjoys it. So to make the process less painful, I have developed a series of email templates that I can use for these requests.

If you are just getting started with Evernote, I suggest that you buy Brett Kelly’s remarkably practical e-book, Evernote Essentials, 4.0. It will save you HOURS of learning Evernote on your own.

I use Apple Mail. I have entered each of these templates as an “email signature.” (Who says a signature has to be just a signature? It can be any kind of boilerplate text.) You can do the same thing in Microsoft Entourage or Outlook. You could also do this with a macro program like Typinator, Quickeys, Keyboard Maestro, or iKey. The tool is inconsequential.

Here is my list of requests by category with my boilerplate text:

  1. People looking for a job. I don’t take these appointments, unless I am attempting to fill a spot that will report to me and the person sounds genuinely interesting. Otherwise I send them this:
    Dear [Name]:

    As CEO, I do not get directly involved in the hiring process except in very rare instances such as filling a key opening on our Executive Leadership Team or on my own staff.

    Nevertheless, I can tell you how to get started. First, visit this page on our Web site:

    https://business.thomasnelson.com/employment/

    This page contains a list of all job openings currently available at Thomas Nelson. Click on the job that interests you and then read the full job description. If you are still interested in the job, click on the link that says, “Apply for Position.” This will take you to an online Job Application.

    Once you have submitted the form, someone in our Human Resources Department will review your application and take the appropriate action. If you can’t find a position that interests you, you might want to check back in a week or so, as these job postings are updated regularly.

    May God bless you on your job search, whether He leads you here or elsewhere. Again, thank you for honoring us with your interest in joining our company.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  2. Unpublished authors wanting me to read their proposal. I never agree to this, unless the circumstances are very unusual. Exceptions would include referrals from people I really respect. Otherwise, I say this:
    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks for your interest in Thomas Nelson. Unfortunately, we don’t consider unsolicited queries, proposals, or manuscripts. I personally get hundreds a year; our staff get thousands. We simply don’t have the resources to review these.

    However, I can give you some specific guidance on how to get published. In “Advice for First Time Authors,” I offer step-by-step instructions for what to do next. You can find it here:

    http://michaelhyatt.com/advice-to-first.html

    We also have launched a new self-publishing imprint called WestBow Press. While this isn’t for everyone, it might be appropriate for you, depending on your circumstances. You can read about it here:

    http://michaelhyatt.com/should-you-consider-self-publishing.htm

    I hope you will find this helpful.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  3. Blog readers wanting to meet me over coffee. With rare exception, I just don’t have time to do this. As a result, I say this:
    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

    Thanks also for your interest in meeting with me. Unfortunately, that will not be possible for the foreseeable future. In order to honor my existing commitments, I must decline many worthy invitations like yours.

    However, this is one of the main reasons I blog. It allows me to connect in some way with people I would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  4. Business people wanting to “pick my brain.” These are people who essentially want free consulting. You can’t blame them. Free is my favorite price, too. However, except in rare cases (like close friends or certain non-profits), I just don’t have the time. As a result, I offer them three options:
    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks for your interest in meeting with me about [topic]. I get this request a lot. As a result, I have three options available. The first one is free:

    1. My Blog. I have numerous articles on [topic] available on my site. You can find them all by using the Search feature in the right-hand sidebar of my blog.
    2. Consulting. I do a limited amount of consulting on this [topic]. My minimum is a one-hour consultation (not including travel time). Though I am expensive, I do provide a discount on half-day and full-day rates. I would be happy to explain how that works if you are interested.
    3. Speaking. I also speak on this topic. I have a one-hour speech called “[Title of Speech]” I also have done half-day and full-day seminars. If you are interested in this option, you might want to start by checking out my Speaking page.

    Thanks again for your interest. Let me know if I can provide anything further.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

    Note: I don’t provide my consulting rates in this first email. I want to make sure they are interested first.

  5. Event planners wanting to discuss booking me to speak. Fortunately, I have a booking agent who handles all my speaking requests, so I delegate all of these inquiries to him:
    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks so much for your interest in having me speak at your event.

    Brian Scheer handles all my speaking requests. I am copying him on my reply. He will be in touch with you shortly.

    Thanks again,

    Michael

  6. Bloggers wanting me to write a guest post. I never do this. It is all I can do to keep up with my own blog. I send this response:
    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks so much for thinking of me as a potential guest blogger. I am honored.

    Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time. It is all I can do to keep up with my own blog! As a result, I’m afraid I will have to decline your kind invitation.

    Again, thanks for thinking of me.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  7. Bloggers wanting my input on their blog. This is a fairly common request. To do it right would take considerable time. As a result, I usually say:
    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

    Thanks also for your interest in having me take a look at your blog and offering my thoughts about it. Unfortunately, that will not be possible for the foreseeable future. In order to honor my existing commitments, I must decline many worthy invitations like yours.

    However, this is one of the main reasons I blog. It allows me to connect in some way with people I would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  8. Media outlets requesting an interview. Fortunately, I have a communications director who handles my media requests. This could just as easily be my assistant.
    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks for your email. I appreciate your interest in interviewing me.

    I am copying Lindsey Nobles, my Director of Corporate Communications, in this reply. She handles all media requests for me and will be back in touch with you shortly.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  9. Bloggers submitting a guest post for my consideration. I try to publish a couple of guest posts a month. However, I get twenty or so submissions each month. Obviously, I have to say “no” to most of these. I say:
    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks for your interest in being a guest blogger on my site. I am grateful that you took the time to write this post and submit it. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to use it.

    I have received scores of submissions—more than I expected. As a result, I am having to turn down many well-written posts, including yours. Sometimes this is because the topics overlap or the posts are too general for my audience. Regardless, because of my time constraints, I can’t really provide more detailed feedback.

    I wish you the best in your writing endeavors. If you have another post, I would be happy to consider it.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  10. Authors and publishers requesting that I review a book. While I do occasionally review books that are not published by Thomas Nelson, I have never reviewed a book that someone pitched me. It is usually a book I discovered on my own and am genuinely excited about. Therefore, I say:
    Dear [Name]:

    Thank you for your kind words regarding my blog. Thanks also for your interest in having me consider your book for possible review.

    As you might imagine, I get quite a few requests like this. In addition, my own company, Thomas Nelson, publishes about 350 new books per year.

    Unfortunately, I can only read 6–8 new books a month. I give first priority to the books I publish and then to the books that relate to one of my personal interests.

    Your book certainly sounds interesting, but I am afraid I will have to pass at this time.

    Thanks again,

    Michael

  11. Vendors wanting an appointment to pitch their product. I get all kinds of emails from vendors fishing for leads. Most of the time, they haven’t taken the time to learn anything about my business or my specific needs; they are just trolling. My spam filter catches most of these. I delete the rest without responding. The act of sending me an email doesn’t obligate me to respond. The only exception I make is if someone I know referred the person or I have actually met them.

Feel free to borrow my templates or adapt them to your circumstances. I have found that it is usually easier to start with something and modify it rather than create it from scratch.

Question: What am I missing? How do you handle some of these same requests? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Cindy Mullins

    This is such great advice! A real godsend. As a literary agent and publishing/pr consultant in Tokyo, the request for meetings and "pick your brain" sessions seems as numerous as the number of Japanese citizens in this country. I really want to help people succeed in getting their stories to print, but … Thanks so much for this easy solution.
    … from the Queen of not wanting to say No!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    wow. these are great.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Using Email Templates to Say “No” with Grace -- Topsy.com

  • http://www.buildthatlist.com Tom

    Wow! That is something I would never have thought of. Although I have never had enough emails with these requests yet, but definitely something for the swipe file!
    My recent post How To Handle List Unsubscribers

  • http://twitter.com/andrewwilkie @andrewwilkie

    MH,

    A great set of templates! If you use Gmail, you can use there canned response option too.

    Don't reinvent the wheel if you are wanting to start this. Go over you Sent Items to pick and create your own templates.

    Happy Days

    A

  • http://andrewgribben.com Andrew Gribben

    Hi Michael, great post, just wanted to let you know, the blur on your phone numbers still allows for them to be read, thought you might like to know so you can fix it.

    Andrew
    My recent post Open Coffee Lisburn On Tour

  • http://andrewgribben.com Andrew Gribben

    Hi Michael, great post, just wanted to let you know, the blur on your phone numbers still allows for them to be read, thought you might like to know so you can fix it.

    Andrew
    My recent post Open Coffee Lisburn On Tour

    • Apba

      ok

    • Gfhfg

      asdf

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Any time you find yourself answering the same query in the same way, it is a candidate for an email template.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    If someone is that determined, they can call me. ;-) Seriously, I am not worried about it. Also, for the record, the “To:” name and email address are made-up. That’s why I didn’t blur them. Thanks.

  • Marilyn

    I also use templates. Two years ago, I ran an experiment. I customized each response by providing information specific to the job search needs of each individual. (E.g., obvious strengths/weaknesses of the application, organizations that would be a better fit, etc.)

    This was feasible because the volume of inquiries I receive is low (around 200 a year), and it took no more than a couple of minutes to make the assessment.

    But, it turned out to be a mistake. It’s not that the recipients weren’t grateful for my responses. The problem was that they took my personalized responses as an invitation for an ongoing dialogue, which I then had to shut down. Shutting down the second round was painful because of the additional personal information that often accompanied the reply.

    My advice to those who receive inquiries – use templates! My advice to those who initiate inquiries – don’t assume a dialogue is appropriate unless the response contains an explicit invitation.

  • http://ronlane.wordpress.com Ron L

    That is good stuff Michael. I’m sure that as a CEO you have to use some of those far too often.

    I know that I have thought about asking you about my blog and would like to meet you when in Nashville.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      No you know how I would reply!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    This is a really good point.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

    Michael, your tip about saving template letters as "signatures" in Outlook has saved me hours of time. And now you have shared a treasure trove of popular letters with us. These are like gold! Even though I'm not in the publishing business, I have to say no from time to time and many of these letters can easily be modified to fit different situations.
    If you use Gmail, you can create a "canned response" that allows you to accomplish the same thing. In Gmail, just go to settings, click the labs tab, and select canned responses from the menu to turn the feature on. This adds a canned response link right under the subject line with all of your templates just a click away.
    My recent post Set a 12 Week Goal

  • http://www.gabetaviano.com Gabe Taviano

    Long live Apple Mail. Short live intensedebate. This is the second site this week I've tried to comment on, and have had trouble logging in.
    My recent post 1 Photo Per Day

  • http://www.bretlsimmons.com Bret Simmons

    Who do you say "yes" to, and why? I understand clearly what you are doing and why, but do you ever feel a sense of arrogance around having to devote so much time to set up mechanisms to keep people away from you? Is there any value in taking one appointment like these occasionally just to keep yourself grounded?
    My recent post I Am Responsible For My Success and Failures And For Continuing To Learn From Them

    • http://michaelsgray.com Michael Gray

      Mr. Simmons, I'm not sure why you chose to frame your challenge this negative way. I see no arrogance or lack of groundedness in trying to create a process for dealing with an insane amount of requests for personal time. Every template Mr. Hyatt uses is kind and most clearly communitcate that he wishes could answer every request personally, but it's just not feasible.

      If I came through Reno and asked to have a cup of coffee with you and "pick your brain" about building a healthy organization, what would your response to someone like me look like? What if you got 20 requests per week? How would you decide when to say "yes"?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/srivera srivera

    Post like this are worth a lot!

    Michael, I'm really grateful for sharing this information.This is a great way to acknowledge the people that respects you and at the same time keep doing the things for which they respect you.

    I will definitely borrow your templates ;)
    My recent post

  • http://Building-His-Body@gmail.com Anne Lang Bundy

    Since you do wonderful posts on leadership and personal-growth, you no doubt get many e-mails asking for general or mentoring advice. I didn’t see a response to that, which makes me curious about how you do handle it.

    Because I’m involved in ministry and have been successful in connecting with people online, I’m receiving an increasing number of queries for counsel. At present, I respond to all of them and provide thoughtful answers. I foresee the day when I can no longer do so. For now, I sometimes provide shorter answers than I’d like. I still struggle to reconcile myself to the fact that because I am not God (LOL), I’m not be able to respond to each individual as I’d like.

    (PS: Your site’s looking GREAT!)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Anne, this is a great question. I usually refer people to something I have written on my blog. With over 600 articles in my archives, I rarely get a question that I haven’t addressed. In fact, this is the very reason I initially started my blog. I was finding that I was answering similar questions over and over again.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Yes, exactly. My time, unfortunately, is a limited resource. I say “no” to most of these requests, so I can say “yes” to the things that are truly important.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    I really think it is a matter of stewardship. Contrary to arrogance, I think it takes humility to understand that you have limited resources. You can’t meet everyone’s needs. To try to do so, is to develop a “messiah complex.”

    The reality is that my time is limited, just like my money. To be a good steward, I have to apportion it among my priorities. I want to make sure that I am investing in my family, my friends, my employees, my business associates, my church, etc. If I say “yes” to every opportunity, I would end up de facto saying “no” to the more important priorities. (I used to make this mistake early in my career, and my family suffered.)

    Having said that, I really do look for opportunities to give. I try to answer questions here and on Twitter. I try to point people to resources that will be helpful.

    Thanks.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chrishuff chrishuff

    Using the same concept, template's could be used for other regular responses as well. For example, I sometimes get emails to my business email for tech support that should go to a tech support address. A simple templating takes care of such responses.

    If you get an off-email once, respond with an appropriate reply. If you start getting that type of email on a regular basis, turn your answer into a template.

    I see that your template responses can be lengthy as well as polite. The more details, the less likely to receive follow-up emails.
    My recent post Do You Sing When You Are Behind The Mixer?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chrishuff chrishuff

    Using the same concept, template's could be used for other regular responses as well. For example, I sometimes get emails to my business email for tech support that should go to a tech support address. A simple templating takes care of such responses.

    If you get an off-email once, respond with an appropriate reply. If you start getting that type of email on a regular basis, turn your answer into a template.

    I see that your template responses can be lengthy as well as polite. The more details, the less likely to receive follow-up emails.
    My recent post Do You Sing When You Are Behind The Mixer?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    I apologize for that, Gabe. I have had one other complaint. I will forward yours to the good people at IntenseDebate.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

      Michael, I have had the same trouble with multiple Intense Debate sites and three different computers. I also tried it on my Droid cellphone with no luck. It seems to be a javascript problem. I tried it in IE8, Firefox 3.5 and Chrome. None of them worked. I could enter my comment but nothing happened when I pushed the submit button. It does work fine on my computer at home, so I'm thinking it might be a javascript problem with certain networks??
      My recent post Set a 12 Week Goal

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/MichaelSGray MichaelSGray

    I love this idea. As a teacher, it wouldn't be practical to respond to any of my emails in this way, but I can definitely see how this would benefit high profile leaders who field many unsolicited emails each day.

    Regarding people "picking your brain", I find that this blog is akin to a sit-down-with-Michael-Hyatt-over-coffee experience — and you're available 24/7. Though it would be incredible to meet you in person, I can't imagine anyone having a question for you that you haven't already addressed in these posts. And anytime I've asked a clarifying question, you are faithful to respond quickly and concisely. Your ideas and advice are free for the taking, no appointment necessary.
    My recent post A Company of Heroes

  • http://www.dewaynehamby.com DeWayne Hamby

    Thanks for this post, Mike. Great ideas!
    My recent post Cutting Edge Coke

  • Brian

    Great post, Mike. Quick Parts is another good way to do this in Outlook 2007.

  • http://collectiveinkwell.com Sean Platt

    I my goodness, that's just perfect! I use Mac Mail as well, but have never thought to use the signature feature as a harbor for email templates. Thanks!
    My recent post Dreaming of Becoming an Author? You’re Not Alone.

  • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

    one of the things i've always appreciated about you is your willingness to share your resources so openly. thank you for your practical wisdom.
    My recent post have you ever

  • http://www.novelteen.com Jill Williamson

    Thank you! What an answer to prayer. I'm terrible at saying no. This way I'll have something ready for each circumstance that comes my way. Thanks for sharing these. :-)
    My recent post Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    Very wise and amazing. Thanks for this post. I've used some templates in the past, but this helped me write a few more as my inbox gets inundated with requests. Thanks, Mike.

  • Marilyn

    Another way to frame this issue is Matthew 5:37 – let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’. I’ve found that when I violate this command, it’s typically because I’ve set an initial boundary in a new relationship that is either fuzzy or too expansive.

    When I then redraw the boundary line at a later point in time, I can come across as lacking integrity. Form letters address this issue by communicating the correct boundary up front.

  • http://michaelnozbe.com MichaelNozbe

    Really cool set of templates, thanks for sharing!

    I've got a set of templates in Typinator to answer common questions and problems, but not entire emails. I'll be on to it now. Thanks for inspiration!
    My recent post Google launched an iPhone and forgot to innovate. Where's the passion?

  • http://michaelnozbe.com MichaelNozbe

    Really cool set of templates, thanks for sharing!

    I've got a set of templates in Typinator to answer common questions and problems, but not entire emails. I'll be on to it now. Thanks for inspiration!
    My recent post Google launched an iPhone and forgot to innovate. Where's the passion?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Yes, “now.” (The fingers are faster than the brain!)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Chris_Tomlinson Chris_Tomlinson

    If this was Stuff Christians Like, I'd say "I can't wait to get one of these emails from you."

    But as is, I'll say thanks for posting all of this. I love the concept of saying "yes" to something means saying "no" to something else. It's all too easy to get lost on lower priorities–and life and faith then suffer.

    Thanks for setting the bar for many of us to now follow.

  • http://tararobinson.com Tara Rodden Robinson

    Hi Michael,

    Great post! I've had boilerplate emails for some time and keep my drafts in Evernote for portability. It never occurred to me to use signatures–brilliant! Thanks!

    As an aside, if your intent in blurring out phone numbers was to conceal them, you might wish to re-do as they are still pretty easy to decipher.

    Best wishes,
    Tara

  • http://www.inspiredreflections.info Deborah J. Thompson

    What wonderful advice, but more than that–your eloquent “rejections” reveal much about your character and serve as a great example of how a busy person can still take the time to be kind to others on this path of life. So often in our demanding society, people neglect common courtesy. It is nice to see someone in a leadership position demonstrating how to truly LEAD with grace, dignity and compassion.

    Thank you!

    Deborah J. Thompson
    Contributing Writer for Crosswalk.com and “The Fish”

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JustinWise Justin Wise

    This is brilliant. I even nabbed one of them for myself!

    Thanks Mike!
    My recent post Skye Jethani, Dropped Jaws & Disagreements

  • http://marlataviano.com Marla Taviano

    This is BRILLIANT. Hoping your inbox doesn't get slammed today with thousands of people wanting to see if they'll get a template reply from you…

  • SocialSea

    This is a great post and one that is beneficial to many seeking employment. Requesting a lunch for a brief informational interview is a technique being taught by many employment agencies to our nation's unemployed. It's also beneficial for all the new energy created by bloggers with stars in their eyes about becoming the next big thing in social media. And lastly, you give those unaware of corporate structure a glimpse at the gatekeepers embedded in the organizational chart that filter information before it gets to you. If you didn't have this structure in place along with these templates, you wouldn't get anything done. I had a vendor file a discrimination complaint against me many years ago for declining an appointment. I followed a fair and unbiased RFP process due to number of vendors bidding for my business. He lost his case with my superiors. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.bretlsimmons.com Bret Simmons

    Hi Michael:
    I can tell my Michael's response that he took it the way it was intended – as a legitimate question and not an accusation. Not that it matters, but I took two appointments just today from folks that I don't know from Adam. I checked them out online and I probably have little to gain from the appointment. I am very glad to help, humbled that someone might be interested in anything I have to say. I do it as much for me as I do for them.
    If you are ever in Reno, coffee is on me! Thanks, Bret
    My recent post I Am Responsible For The Attractive And Unattractive Parts Of Who I Am

  • http://twitter.com/KarynBrownlee @KarynBrownlee

    Brilliant ideas from a brilliant mind. Thanks for sharing such practical advice.

  • http://www.john-gallagher.blogspot.com John Gallagher

    Great stuff, Mike. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely borrow a few given your direction.
    My recent post Book Review – Tribes

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    "I can do all things in Christ," but not all at the same time. Stewardship is often used in relationship to money, but I agree with you that it needs to be used in relationship to priorities and time management. We each have limited time to spend and we benefit when we ask God for wisdom in how we use the time we do have and then follow His direction. We can't be everything to everyone, and we have to trust God that He will minister to people who get frustrated when we can't be what they want.
    My recent post #25 UNDERSTANDING CHRIST: HIS TRIUMPHANT CRUCIFIXION PART 2

  • Pingback: E-mail – email mail | Know Marketing Blog

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Your first sentence cracked me up. In fact, I read it to Gail (my wife), and she laughed out loud. Thanks!

  • http://www.stevefogg.typepad.com Steve

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for taking the time to blog.

    Thanks also for the time you take in preparing in what already is a busy shedule.

    Unfortunately, I simply no longer have the time to comment on every post, on every blog and in order to honour my existing committments I must decline many worthy comments on many different blogs just like on your wonderful blog.

    I have cc'd my other 47 Senior Executive Vice President Commenting Personal Assistants (SEVPCPA). They handle all of my commenting duties and will continue to comment for me with you.

    I wish you the best in your blogging endeavours. If you have another post soon. I would be happy for my SEVPCPA's to consider it and comment on it.

    kind regards

    Steve Fogg
    Chief Joke Officer
    ;-)

    My recent post Church Marketing Sucks: Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

  • http://www.stevefogg.typepad.com Steve

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for taking the time to blog.

    Thanks also for the time you take in preparing in what already is a busy shedule.

    Unfortunately, I simply no longer have the time to comment on every post, on every blog and in order to honour my existing committments I must decline many worthy comments on many different blogs just like on your wonderful blog.

    I have cc'd my other 47 Senior Executive Vice President Commenting Personal Assistants (SEVPCPA). They handle all of my commenting duties and will continue to comment for me with you.

    I wish you the best in your blogging endeavours. If you have another post soon. I would be happy for my SEVPCPA's to consider it and comment on it.

    kind regards

    Steve Fogg
    Chief Joke Officer
    ;-)

    My recent post Church Marketing Sucks: Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    Steve, all I can say is don’t quit your day job. ;-)

  • http://michaelsgray.com Michael Gray

    Fair enough. As it happens, I thought your question about the value of accepting a random appointment was a good one. I like a little bit of randomness in my life, and think it would be fun to meet with someone just to see what happens (I say that now, but perhaps that's because I have a non-CEO schedule). Even if the meeting is a complete disaster, at least it was over a good cup of free coffee.

    If I'm ever in Reno again, I'll definitely be taking you up on that offer. Thanks for the reply!

  • http://twitter.com/DaveAnthold @DaveAnthold

    Michael – thanks for these helpful hints regarding email signatures. I have created email signatures for my most commonly sent emails & it has saved me a great deal of time, even if they are short ones. Thanks again.
    My recent post Read Me

  • Melody DuBois

    What wonderful examples of gracious replies! This is one of the arts I've come to appreciate living in Asia. (My husband and I marvel, for example, at many Asian flight attendants… frequently quipping that they somehow have the ability to say "no" and make you feel good about it.)

    Particularly in the Philippines, the way to "no" is usually through a "yes." So I especially like your philosophy of thinking "what CAN I do/offer that might be a help to this person?"

  • http://www.facebook.com/tiffanibelle Tiffani Riggers

    I know you posted this a few days ago, but a friend of mine tweeted it today, so I am just seeing it. As a graduate student, I have fewer formal responsibilities than I did in the work world, but a few other templates occured to me as I was reading your post. The first "letter of recommendation" – because I have worked with a number of students in the past as a college administrator and now as a teaching assistant, students often ask for a letter of recommendation for various endeavors. I think I'll create a "no" and a "yes, but here is what you need to send me" templates. On the same vein, a "serve as a professional reference" template response might be nice to have.

    The suggestions you offered are ones that I plan to put back into use once I'm done with this degree and back in a profession again! In the meantime, thanks for your post!
    My recent post Monday Fun! (for movie lovers!)

  • Pingback: Friday’s Relationship Roundup « Keith Ferrazzi

  • Pingback: Recent blog posts relevant to church planters | Planting Space

  • Anne

    Question for you — What if it's an acquaintance? What if one contacts you and wants to connect with you, but doesn't mention why? Is there a polite way to ask what they want? I don't want to be rude to someone and say, "What do you want?," especially if they just liked you and want to hang out. However, if they really do have an agenda, it'd be easier to just reply with a template, rather than waste a lot of time.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I actually use a variation of what I have outlined above. I state my regret that we cannot get together. Then I tell them it just won’t be possible.

  • Pingback: No Reply to Emails Speaks Volumes About Your Relationships | Sterling Performance | BNET

  • http://twitter.com/StacyBrice @StacyBrice

    I appreciate your gracious templates, and I'm absolutely curious to hear why you don't delegate this to a trusted and valued assistant, so that you can focus on other things?

  • Pingback: Managing Email with an Assistant

  • http://www.facebook.com/tellmisty Misty Williams

    Oh. my. goodness.

    Mike, I would have never thought to use the email sig in the way you have described … holy cow, I am going to have my team execute this right away! We work with authors / speakers / coaches to manage their marketing and promo infrastructure and I have probably 80% of our activities systemized so that we are efficient and keep costs down for our clients. This is MUSIC TO MY EARS!!!
    My recent post How do I find good customers?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. Templates are a HUGE time-saver!

  • Pingback: Untemplater Businesses: Designing Operations — Untemplater

  • http://aliciaforest.com Alicia Forest

    Thanks so much for this – though I'm in a different industry, the requests on my time for review/coaching/consulting for 'free' can be overwhelming and I appreciate some of the ways you've devised to gracefully decline.

    Cheers,
    ~ Alicia

  • http://twitoaster.com/country-us/michaelhyatt/ MichaelHyatt

    If you find it difficult to say “no,” try these 10 sample email templates. Re-post: http://michaelhyatt.com/using-email-temp

    • http://twitoaster.com/country-us/jeremymeyers/ jeremymeyers

      RT @MichaelHyatt: If you find it difficult to say “no,” try these 10 sample email templates. Re-post: http://michaelhyatt.com/using-email-temp

  • http://www.lovin4nuttin.net lovin4nuttin

    wow, it really took a lot of work to write all this and it was very informative, thank you for sharing

  • http://www.byemail.com.au/ Email Templates

    Nowadays, it is not surprising anymore for anyone who uses email to receive email messages from random businesses and individuals offering certain products and services Email Templates

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Using Email Templates to Say “No” with Grace -- Topsy.com

  • http://www.thursdaybram.com Thursday Bram

    I do something similar in Gmail — if you’re using Gmail, you can use the canned response feature, rather than signatures, which is a nice option in my mind. I’ve seen some examples of people using a combination of canned responses and filters to automatically respond to certain categories of email.

    So far, I haven’t found that appropriate for the level of connection I want to have with the people I work with (and I’d rather not run the risk of sending an automatic email to the wrong person). But having templates ready to go has made a world of difference in my career.

  • Pingback: “Nein” sagen mit Textbausteinen » ToolBlog

  • http://www.kristievosper.com Kristie Vosper

    Oh Michael, this post is JUST what I needed to read. Thank you. I’m working on developing better boundaries around my time…I just have to.  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. That just feels so terrible to do…but I’ve pandered to everyone else’s needs for long enough…so freedom from this is feeling good. You just gave me so many wonderful words I’ll use as a guide and encouragement. Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great, Kristie. It really does take the anxiety out of saying, “no.” All the best.

  • Pingback: #005: How to Take Control of Your E-mail Inbox [Podcast] | Michael Hyatt

  • Kristi Holl

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Lorene Collier Purcy

    Thank you for that wonderful information…

  • Rob Holliday

    Michael,
    Thanks for providing such practical advice. Being a pleaser by nature as well, I find it hard to manage saying no. What I really like about your formats here is that it provides a well thought out and kind way of replying to all your inquiries, in spite of the limits on your time. So many inquiries go unanswered, and yours provide the feedback that answers the nervous lull after making such a request. I admire the work you’ve done in developing yourself into the  great communicator that you are. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Joe

    Very practical way to handle your email.  Thanks for the tip.  I bet TextExpander would make the process even more painless since it supports input boxes you could use to insert names, etc..

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I will check that out. I didn’t realize it had input boxes.

  • http://snappycasual.tumblr.com kelsey williams

    This is so helpful! Thank you so much.

  • Pingback: How to Say No With Grace, Not Guilt | Brilliance Inc

  • http://www.keeperofthehome.org/ Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

    Thank you so much for these practical examples. My husband has been telling me to do this for quite some time, as I have a well-trafficked homemaking blog, and continually get requests similar to the ones you’ve mentioned above. To respond to all of them is simply impossible, as I maintain my own blog and care for my home and young family. I know, I know, I know that I can’t do it all.

    But, I struggle with the guilt… even though I know I shouldn’t. I so appreciate this post, as it gives me just another little push (and maybe a nod of approval) towards graciously saying “no” to all of these various requests. Without guilt. :) 

  • Pingback: How to Say No When You Feel Pressured to Say Yes | Michael Hyatt

  • Pingback: #027: How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty [Podcast] | Michael Hyatt

  • http://twitter.com/TechSavvyLender Chris Sanderson

    You seriously amaze me, Michael.  Just made a few templates of my own thanks to you!  Jim Rohn taught that the best way to greatness is service to many.  You certainly qualify for greatness.  THANK YOU!  

  • Robin Taney

    These are great! Although I don’t have scores of people pitching me and trying to pick my brain at the same time, these will come in very handy with the requests that I do need to turn down.

  • Pingback: 12 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work | PFS

  • http://www.fivefoldfatherhood.com/ Ricardo Butler

    AAAAAAAHHH This is a GOLD MINE! I already have my own, but now that people are requesting more of my time this greatly helps! I love you Mike for this one!

  • Shane Sams

    J-J-J-J-Jackpot! Thanks Michael, just used these for the first time this morning. Not only did it make the “no” easier to type out, but I actually felt it was a positive exchange (lifting up the other person instead of shooting them down). Great stuff!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Excellent, Shane. So glad this was helpful.

  • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

    This is really helpful stuff, Michael. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve had to send more and more of these types of emails, and it always pains me. I’m definitely going to be borrowing liberally from some of these templates. Thanks!

  • Marlys Arnold

    Love these templates (especially the “pick my brain” one) – Thanks, Michael! Just last week, I had to carefully respond to two various types, so I look forward to having these templates to fall back on for future requests.

  • Susan W.

    :) Thank you very much for sharing! This was very useful to me as a die hard people pleaser! I just needed help saying no in the kindest way possible. I appreciate your help!