No – What a Word!


In my career endeavors one word that I’ve encountered a ridiculous number of times has been the word “no.”  It’s really a strange word.  I mean it evens sounds weird if you say it aloud (I know you just did).  It might even be the first we learn, and possibly the last word we say at the end of our lives.

Professionally speaking it may be expressed in multiple ways; “we’re not hiring right now;” “not today;” or “you have not been selected;” the term “thank you” may accompany “no” before or after , yet it still means no.  For some hearing the word “no” might even produce extreme reactive behavior.  To emphasize the power of the word “no” on a take from the late Rick James from an episode of the Dave Chappelle Show, “No is a hell of word.”

As a consultant, I encourage people to not to empower the word “no” to a life or death consequence.  I suggest symbolizing “no” with the color red at traffic light.  Realizing the traffic signal will eventually turn green, or despite being red after stopping you might still be able to proceed if you’re making a right turn or if the red light is flashing – Ahh Symbolism.

Sometimes the wordno” is something you may appreciate hearing; I know I have, perhaps not initially, maybe later.  There instances that “no” might be more significant for others than what you aspired.  As “yes” was the answer your spouse, partner or family wanted to hear, but not you.

I recently noticed that KFC has brought back Colonel Sanders to their commercials.  For me, the colonel represents not only a mascot of KFC, and one of determination, a champion in overcoming the word “no.”  The colonel’s story is an interesting one.  He believed in his fried chicken recipe and despite hearing the word “no” hundreds of times to his sales pitch, eventually he heard the word “yes.”  My grandfather who was an influential person in my life would differ in my perspective of determination in hearing the word “no.”  He’s the same guy that doesn’t understand how in baseball a hitter would be considered an exceptional player if they averaged 300.  I mean doesn’t that mean he failed to get a hit 70% of the time.

“People take the word NO way too serious.”

I mean most of the time the word “no” is not a personal thing.  Whoever is conveying that message to you likely didn’t wake up in the morning with gleam in their eyes, inspired to say word “no” to you.  Others might be immunized to hearing the word “no.”  Telemarketers must hear the word “no“every which way possible, likely more often by the sound “click” on the other line.  Since I average a call a day, I suppose despite the constant hearing of the word “no” the world of telemarketing is alive and well.

Being bilingual I sometimes find myself in situations where I attempt to be of service.  I agree that the English language is not a logical one.  In Spanish or Espanol, the word “no” is written and pronounced the same way.  So what about the word “yes”?  In Spanish the word “yes” becomes “Si” and pronounced in English like the letter “C.” Here’s where it gets confusing, in English the words “know” and “no” are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.  I even question my level of all knowing as my mind goes blank to translate the word “homophone” in Spanish.  No wonder it’s a challenge for some to learn English.


Al "Skip" Solorzano
SKIP is a recognized expert in the field of diversity with keen ability to build strategic alliances, and successfully expand supplier diversity initiatives. He has consulted with multiple client sectors including pharmaceutical, insurance, manufacturing, health care, telecommunications, utilities nonprofit organizations, business entities and employee groups. As a facilitator and learning consultant presents unique perspectives to develop solutions; and promote qualities to successfully work with others through diversity, team-building and leadership development. Solorzano has been featured as a presenter at conferences sponsored by such entities as: AT&T, The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Social Security Administration. A former Governor appointee and member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; Solorzano has been recognized by United Way as Most Influential Hispanics of the Bay Area; and a recipient of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Corporate Advocate of the Year award. Skip’s career endeavors as a corporate liaison, community leader and entrepreneur, provides the unique insight to write on an array of subject matter from learning processes; diversity; with a shared humorous perspective of life.

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