Using Email Templates to Say “No” with Grace

A good friend of mine who 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 to use for these requests.

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 this yourself in Apple Mail, Microsoft Entourage, Outlook, and most other email applications. 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:

    Careers

    This page contains a list of all job openings currently available at Michael Hyatt & Company. Click on the job that interests you and then read the full job description. If you are still interested in the job, follow the steps outlined there to submit your application.

    Once you have done so, 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 later, as these job postings are updated regularly.

    Best on your job search, whether that 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 Unpublished authors wanting me to read their proposal.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 having me review your work. I get hundreds of requests like this every year, and I simply can’t take the time to review them.

    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

    I hope you will find this helpful.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  3. Blog or podcast followers wanting to meet me over coffee. I just don’t have time to do this. As a result, I say this:

    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks for your kind words about my work.

    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. Businesspeople 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 and Podcast. I have numerous articles and podcast episodes on [topic] available on my site. You can find them all by using the Search feature at the top of each page.
    2. Coaching. Rather than one-on-one coaching, I offer mentorship to growing business leaders through our BusinessAccelerator. There you can get personal access during the live events, plus peer mentoring from other high achievers, and much more.
    3. Live Events. The best current expression of my thoughts on this subject is delivered in The Focused Leader, a 1-day intensive that will give you hours of direct access to my live teaching.

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

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  5. Event planners wanting to discuss booking me to speak. My team evaluates all speaking requests for me, so I direct people to my speaking page.

    Dear [Name]:

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

    Please visit my speaking page:

    Michael Hyatt & Company Speaking Team

    You’ll find out more about my core message, The Double Win, and meet the Michael Hyatt & Company speaking team. When you’re ready to book, click the “Book Speaker” button and complete the form.

    My team will review the information and respond to you.

    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. Content creators wanting my input on their blog or podcast. To do this right would take considerable time. As a result, I usually say:

    Dear [Name]:

    Thanks for your kind words about my [blog/podcast].

    Thanks also for your interest in having me take a look at your work 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/podcast]. 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 an assistant who handles my media requests.

    Dear [Name]:

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

    I am copying Jim, my executive assistant, in this reply. He 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 used to publish a couple of guest posts a month, but I no longer accept any. However, I still get requests from time to time. Here’s what 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’m no longer publishing guest posts. That means I must decline all guest submissions, no matter how worthy they may be.

    I wish you the best in your writing endeavors.

    Kind regards,

    Michael

  10. Authors and publishers requesting that I review a book. While I do occasionally review books, 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. Unfortunately, I can only read 6–8 new books a month. I give first priority 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 these 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.