Communicators are always going on about saying “yes.” Agree first and evaluate later. You can say yes to almost anything even if it doesn't initally make sense. “I think we should take all of our employees for a ride on Space Mountain!” Yes, that is an interesting idea. I wonder if that is what's best for the company.”
But there is a step before saying "yes" which doesn't get a lot of focus. First, don't say "no." Saying no is often a knee jerk reactions, especially of there is ego involved, like having an idea or asking for help. But, anyone who has ever been on a date or interview knows a negative response can cut things short pretty quickly.
“Hi! Do you like music?” “No.”
“Good morning. Do you like our new company logo?” “No.”
It’s not about squelching your true feelings, it’s about not leading with contradiction.
Ron Shaich, founder and CEO of Panera Bread had an idea to give their food away for free. In 2010 they opened up a Panera Cares Community Cafe in St. Louis Misourri. Their experimental pay-what-you-can model not only connected them more meaningfully to the neighborhood, but turned out to be cost effective, as well. This innovative idea was a major part in giving Panera Bread “the best-performing restaurant stock over the last decade.”
Someone in that inevitiably awkward conversation didn't say no.
It just makes sense. More ideas are generated, more confidence is given, fewer egos bruised. As every parent everywhere has said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all."
philosopher and 80s rocker Billy Squier said it best...
We live in confusion times
My world is a vice
Nobody gets out alive
But you can break through the ice
Don't say no...