Tag Archives: invitations

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Displaying Discernment Makes A Great Leader

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Discernment.1Saying “no” might seem cruel, but it is not. It’s better to decline an invitation or an opportunity versus giving it less than your best, thus deeming you a slacker. Now, we understand that saying no isn’t always easy, especially if the person or situation that you are being presented with is of value for you. But, displaying discernment, or judging situations and decisions well is an essential part of being a great leader.

Today, let’s explore 3 simple ways to display discernment and still ensure that you are maintaining your relationships, displaying leadership and keeping yourself available for future opportunities. When presented with an opportunity or invitation that you know that you plan to decline, consider these 3 degrees of displaying discernment:

  1. Say: “No, Thank You”: The simplest and easiest way to display discernment is to simply say “No, Thank You”.  This option is straight to the point and works when you have personally agreed to take the stance of not offering any explanations or additional information to the other individual involved. Sure, this method works, but if you plan to interface with or work with the person offering the opportunity or invitation in the future, this might not be the best response.
  2. Say: “No, Thank You” and ask to be considered for future opportunities: Perhaps the timing of this invitation or opportunity is just bad , but you want to be considered for future opportunities or invitations later. Say that! If you just say “no, thank you”, the other party may think that this type of opportunity does not interest you whatsoever and will not invite you again. Display discernment by saying, “no thank you”, but also display discernment again, by communicating what your future intentions are.
  3. Say: “No, Thank You” and offer an explanation: Sometimes you have a string of invitations and opportunities that you have to decline or that you aren’t interested in. What might happen is that you already have or want to establish a relationship with the offering individuals or organization and you want to maintain or strengthen the relationship, although you know that you can not currently engage or accept their proposed offer(s). This situation may prompt you to offer an explanation explaining your denial. Now, of course, you can simply say, “no thank you”, but an explanation shows the offering party that you are interested for future opportunities and think so highly of the person or organization that you want to offer an explanation of why now isn’t the best time for you to accept.

Displaying discernment allows you to make sound decisions and focus on the most critical tasks and events of your life. Accepting everything without judging its true importance opens the door for stress and frustration and also extinguishes your ability to perform as a leader.

Challenge yourself to display discernment this week and let us know how it goes!


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I Respectfully Decline…

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InvitationMany of us have recently made or had an ongoing goal to manage our time more wisely and to be more selective of the things that we sign up for. Well, hopefully you’ve made progress with that goal. One of the biggest places that we fall off of the wagon at is in the area of events. I mean, who doesn’t like to get an invitation to an event? The problem happens when we begin to accept all events without considering the 5 W’s. Why am I going? Where is it at? Who will likely be there? What will I get out of it? Will there be any value in attending?

Now truly, sometimes, you just want to go out, be social and not think too much about it. but embracing that thought process each and every time can surely be consequential to your time management improvement plan.  The question that might be plaguing you is, how do I go about respectfully declining an invitation to an event?

Of course, the type of event that you might be declining needs to be considered. There is certainly a different way to respectfully decline a wedding invitation versus a regularly scheduled networking event. Here are a few tips to follow when considering your attendance at an event:

  1. Plan – Living on the edge each and every time and waiting until the last minute to decide your status at an event is overrated and unnecessary. Make a conscious decision to decide in advance if your schedule, mental capacity and outside obligations will allow you to attend this event.
  2. Prepare –  “I don’t have anything to wear”, “I got lost because I didn’t look up directions” and “I forgot to read the specifics of the invitation” are pretty common excuses for missing or being late for an event. Just take a moment, in advance, to properly prepare for this event that you’ve decided is more important to partake in than all of the other things on your to-do list.
  3. Engage – You’re busy, right? So is everyone else. The power of a face to face interaction is sometimes so easily underestimated. A quick glace around a restaurant, library, coffee shop, networking event, wedding or park in pretty much most major cities across the United States will reveal a large cluster of people engaged in the same type of communication that they wake up with and go to sleep with – online communication. When we get together face to face, we eliminate those awkward cold unemotional texts and miscommunication because of a misplaced comma or period and we get the opportunity to do something that our electronics can’t do — embrace human emotion.  So, if you’re at event, take advantage of your opportunity to engage with other real-life humans.

So, you’ve read about the three tips, Plan, Prepare and Engage and you’ve decided, you just can’t do them. Perhaps now, it’s time to respectfully decline. So, how do you do it?

  • RSVP – French (répondez s’il vous plaît) – If the event requires that you need to RSVP, do so. RSVP’ing does not mean that by default you are saying that you will attend the event and not responding does not necessarily mean that you are not attending, unless that is the course of action that the invitation stated. To RSVP simply means: to respond, please. Also, RSVP in the manner that is requested. If by mail was requested, send it by mail. If by email was requested, send it by email, etc.
  • Sensitive Situations: There are some instances where just responding and not formally having a conversation with someone is not necessarily the best course of action. For example, you get an invitation from your close friend for her wedding and due to some other pre-planned obligations, you cannot attend. Sure, you should send your RSVP card back (in the manner by which it was requested), but a phone call might also be in order. This might be a friendship that means quite a bit to you and you’d like to keep it that way. By simply making a phone call, letting your friend know that you can’t attend and even perhaps s still sending a gift, you’ve covered your bases and shown that if the situation were different, you perhaps would have attended. This particular protocol could also be followed in situations where there is a business outing, a professional networking event or maybe a family gathering.
  • Emergency – At some point, an emergency will arise and it will prevent you from attending something, perhaps even after you’ve already stated that you’ll be attending. If there is enough time to alert the host ( a safe time is typically before the event has started, but as quickly as possible) then do so. Express your inability to attend and be sure to include an apology. We all have our obligations, but many events require some kind of financial investment and some planning to ensure that RSVP’d guests are properly accommodated. Guests who do not attend events with no forewarning cost the organization or individual money and perhaps prevented other people from not attending.

Scarlet Says...There will come a time where respectfully declining an event invitation will be necessary. You cannot and probably should not even attempt to attend every event that you are invited to. Managing your time wisely and deciding, in advance, what you have the capacity and genuine general interest in attending will keep you focused and available to attend the truly important stuff and most important, present to respectfully engage with other people.

Until Next Time,

– Scarlet


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