As the new semester begins, so come the invitations to serve on this committee or be part of that grant.  Trying to figure out graceful ways to decline?  Give our link of the week a shot:

You Are So Kind to Think of Me
The Chronicle of Higher Education

My last post focused on when to say “no” to people or activities that aren’t aligned with your most important priorities. Deciding to decline a request is the easy part. Delivering the news in a way that doesn’t damage the way people think of you is a bit tougher. Because I struggle with disappointing others, I pay special attention to the artful ways the “thanks, but no thanks” message can be delivered. I received a particularly good template for future use last week.

At a colleague’s suggestion, I sent an e-mail invitation to a rock-star faculty member I don’t know very well. I wanted her to serve on an advisory committee and promised that we would be efficient, so the commitment would not be terribly burdensome. Two weeks went by without a word, so I assumed she had communicated her answer by not answering. And then something surprising happened. I got a response!

Allison,
I’ve been trying to figure out a way to say that I could do this—because I would enjoy it. But the terrible truth is that I am really overcommitted in the next couple of years, and adding anything is probably not a good idea.
I really hope I can help in the future.

Read more.

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