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Does saying “no” to someone make you cringe? Do you find yourself feeling guilty because you have to say no? Are you overloading your day because you just can’t seem to say no to your friends, your co-workers, your boss, or even your family? 

As kids, many of us were taught not to say no, to our parents and authority figures. People sometimes believe that saying yes will make them more likable and avoid being seen as lazy or selfish.

But saying no isn’t bad, wrong, or selfish, says Alex Perry, a communication and confidence expert. Saying no is essential; to set boundaries, avoid overdoing, and prevent disappointments.

Alex suggests that saying no is the key to creating more freedom in your life and offers these ways to say no nicely (aka without sounding like a jerk).

1. Sounds great, but I can’t commit.

Sure, you could go to the party; however, you’ve got other things you need and want to accomplish. This phrase works well when you’re asked to attend a party, get-together, or some other social event.

2. I can’t help right now; let me recommend someone who might be able to.  

Do you find yourself as the go to person more often than you’d like? Try this phrase the next time your co-worker or the PTO president asks you to do something that you know you don’t have time to do.

3. My time is already committed.

So, your boss asks you to stay late (again) to work on a project. Here’s a way to say no without saying it directly. From here, you can suggest alternate times or ways to get work done.

4. I’m honored but can’t.

This is a great phrase to use when you’re asked to take on a project, a role, or an assignment that’s a big deal and you know that you don’t have the time (e.g., taking on a new board position, secretary duties at church or you’re asked to attend an event on behalf of your company).

5. No, thank you. 

Direct? Absolutely. Is it necessary? It can be. Sometimes, when you’ve tried less direct ways of saying no, you’ve got to be as clear and as kind as possible. The phrase no thank you is straightforward and polite and can be used for almost any scenario you need or want to say no.

To learn more about how to communicate with confidence, visit

Congratulations on making it through one tough year. Goodbye, 2020! You’re ready to take on 2021 and make it one of the best years yet. Whether you’re a die-hard resolution setter or you’re just looking for ways to feel more confident, Alex Perry, CEO of Practically Speaking, LLC has tips that will help you start with a bang and keep you going strong throughout the year. 

1. Set small resolutions.

The new year is full of promise and excitement. It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that you can achieve ANYTHING you set your mind to (and in record time). But that’s not true. According to the U.S. News & World Report, New Year’s resolutions fail about 80 percent of the time. Setting a resolution that’s too big, like running a marathon when you’ve never run, is a sure-fire way to lose confidence. Setting small resolutions, like running a mile by the end of January and then doing the work, will dramatically increase your chances of success. Once you’ve achieved your smaller resolution, you can move on to bigger and better resolutions. You’ll be able to look back at all the small resolutions you kept instead of one big one you didn’t, and your confidence will skyrocket! 

2. Stop negative self-talk. 

Are you your own worst enemy? Do you say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to another human being? How often do you catch yourself saying things like “I’m so dumb.”, “I can’t get anything right?” or “I suck at this!”? If you said often, you aren’t alone. We think about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day, and research suggests about 80% of those thoughts are negative. That’s like having a personal drill sergeant beating you down almost every waking moment of the day. If you want to boost your confidence, start talking nicely to yourself. When you catch yourself saying something negative, like “I’ve ruined everything!” stop and ask yourself, “Is that true?“. Chances are, what you’re saying isn’t right, is an exaggeration, or is just plain mean. Be kind to yourself and confidence will come. 

3. Accept Compliments.

You work hard, are generous and kind, and other people compliment you for it. But what do you say in return? Is it something like, “Oh gosh, no, I’m not that great.” or “Don’t’ say that! I didn’t really DO anything“? It’s easy to downplay or detract when someone compliments you. You don’t want people to think you have a “big head” or that you’re an ego maniac. However, every time you don’t accept a compliment, you’re taking away a chance to boost your confidence. If you’re worried about what to say when someone says something nice about you, simply smile and say, “Thank you.” That’s enough for them and enough for you to feel good about who you are and what you do.

To learn more about how to boost your confidence and communication skills, visit Alex at

This year, more so than ever, we’re craving happiness for the holidays, and while our holidays may not look like they have in years past, that doesn’t mean they have to be less enjoyable or meaningful. 2020 could be one of the happiest holiday seasons yet. With a little creativity and a lot of heart, you can take the best parts of this season and create happiness for yourself and others.

Alex Perry from Practically Speaking shares five ways, giving creates happiness for all.

1. Giving makes us feel happy

You know the feeling of doing something wonderful and unexpected for someone. It feels fantastic! That’s why we love Christmas so much. Research from Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton shows that students felt happier when they gave money vs. keeping money for themselves, even though they predicted they’d feel happier with the money. Giving creates an instant boost of happiness! And you don’t have to give money to experience the benefit-you can give time, skills, help, appreciation, or advice and feel the same effect.

2. Giving promotes social connection

When we give, it prompts others to do the same. It’s called the reciprocity rule, we tend to pay back what’s been given to us by others. This creates a feeling of being socially connected, which makes us feel happy. You can create this feeling in lots of safe ways this year, like paying it forward by buying the coffee for the person in line behind you, starting a card exchange in your neighborhood, or sending notes of appreciation to the staff at your children’s school.

3. Giving is good for our health

The healthier we are, the happier we are! Research suggests that giving increases our health by reducing our stress, contributing to many major health problems. Staying healthy in 2020 is a top priority, so finding ways to give of yourself while still maintaining social distancing is key. Sending a meal to someone who is shut-in, donating to a local charity, or providing assistance to a local animal shelter is a great way to give and stay safe.

4. Giving boosts gratitude

Gratitude is one of the key ingredients for happiness. Barbara Fredrickson, a pioneering happiness researcher, suggests cultivating gratitude in everyday life is essential for increasing personal happiness. This year try keeping a gratitude journal or start a gratitude jar with your kids to boost your feelings of happiness.

5. Giving is contagious

Giving doesn’t just impact the recipient; it sends a ripple throughout our communities and our lives. When we watch others give, it inspires and encourages others to do the same. Giving is one thing we definitely can’t spread enough of this year and in 2021. Happiness for the holidays is within your reach; you just need to give a little to get started.

Connect with Alex at

Being confident in today’s world is tough, brutal actually. And while it may seem like your troubles are coming at you from the outside, there are things you’re doing every day that are killing your confidence without you even realizing it. Alex Perry, CEO of Practically Speaking, shares with us four sneaky confidence killers and what to do about them. 

1.)   Negative Self-Talk. It may seem innocent, or even a little funny, negative self-talk is a big-time confidence killer. Phrases like “I’m such a mess.” “I’m so dumb.” “Today just isn’t my day” or “I’m so out of shape” increases your insecurity and programs your brain for failure. If you want to feel more confident, speak kindly to yourself. 

2.)  Comparing Yourself to Others.  Social comparison, whether it happens online or in-person, is a confidence no-no. If you’re constantly looking at what others do or have and wondering, “why can’t I do or have that?” you’re killing your confidence. Instead, focus on what you’re doing and practice being grateful for what you do and have. 

3.)  Trying to tackle too much.   There’s nothing more defeating than getting to the end of your day and counting up all the items on your to-do list that you didn’t get done. All too often we think if we just get more done, we’ll feel better, but the opposite is true. Instead of doing everything, create a small list, and focus on doing those tasks well. Knowing that you did what you needed to do, and did it well will give you a huge confidence boost at the end of your day!

4.)  Overthinking.  Have you ever overthought about something? Overthinking a problem or decision will leave you feeling stuck and unsuccessful. Often, we overthink because we’re worried about being wrong. So, to get yourself unstuck and moving forward, change your thought. Instead of thinking about all the possibilities of what could go wrong, think about what could go right! Just thinking about positive outcomes will go a long way to boosting your confidence!

To learn more about confidence and communication, visit Alex at, and be sure to follow her @pswithalex on Facebook and Instagram. 

From talking with your kid’s teachers to applying for a new job, handling difficult people, or talking with your boss, the best speakers know how important it is to sound confident (even if you don’t feel like it.).

Here are six tips from Alex Perry, CEO of Practically Speaking to help you sound more confident when you talk.

1. Get rid of weak words.

Weak words are words that don’t carry specific meaning like “sorta, maybe, kinda, really, very, about” They leave wiggle room for your listener and suggest that you’re unsure of what you’re talking about. Be specific when you speak; instead of saying, “the movie is kinda good!” say, “the movie is good.”

2. Ditch filler words. 

We use filler words such as “um, like, uh, so, er” when we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to say. They’re distracting and make you sound like you don’t know what you want to say. You can get rid of them by getting comfortable with pauses where you are silent and by taking a breath before you move on to your next thought.

3. Pause before you speak. 

Pausing does two things it signals to your listener that you’re about to give a thoughtful response, and it gives you the time to craft one. By taking just a few seconds to think through an answer before you talk, you’ll be able to go on to number four with confidence!

4. Finish your sentences.

When you don’t, you sound scattered and inattention. To sound more confident, finish your sentence before moving on to your next thought!

5. Increase your volume. 

We perceive louder speakers as being more confident and competent. If you’re a soft-spoken person, increase your volume, so you’re seen as confident.

6. Don’t uptalk! 

Uptalking happens when a speaker uses a rising pitch at the end of a sentence. It makes everything you say sound like a question, which makes you sound unsure. “Have a nice day?” To sound confident, make sure you end your statements with a falling pitch. “Have a nice day.” 

Learn more at and be sure to follow her @pswithalex on Facebook and Instagram.

Alex Perry is the CEO of Practically Speaking, LLC, author of Minivan Mogul: A Crash Course in Confidence in For Women and host of the Minivan Mogul Podcast. Her passion for all things speaking comes from spending nearly two decades as a Speech Language Pathologist, helping people regain the ability to speak after illness or injury. Alex is a motivational TEDx speaker, facilitator, and mentor. She helps others speak and share their stories with confidence using strategies she’s learned the hard way throughout her career. She’s a nationally certified Speech Language Pathologist, has a background in adult neurology and emotional intelligence and is an EQ-I 2.0 certified administrator. More importantly, Alex blends her scientific approach speaking with her love of storytelling, laughter, and humor into her work with individual clients and corporate teams.  Most importantly, she’s a mom, minivan driver and front row fan of her speakers.