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Say your piece and sign off.” False hope is crueler than no hope.False hope just encourages the other person to waste more of their time, and yours. Taking a look at the materials, it seems like your firm’s key strengths don’t quite overlap with what we need for this project.However, I really enjoyed our conversation and think you could be a good fit here in the right role.Please do keep in touch — and is it OK with you if I let you know about roles that open up that might be a better fit?Because it’s unpleasant, too many of us put it off or don’t do it at all, essentially letting our silence do the talking. Though painful, rejection has benefits: research by Linus Dahlander at ESMT and Henning Piezunka at INSEAD has found, for example, that when organizations take the time to explicitly reject (rather than just passively ignore) crowdsourced ideas, it both increases the quality of the ideas they’re being offered and increases the engagement of the crowd.If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in a decade at Harvard Business Review — during which I’ve rejected literally thousands of ideas, pitches, and drafts — it’s that a quick no is better than a long maybe.
“Do not say anything that will give the recipient the impression that the door is still open,” Joceyln Glei advises in her new email writing guide, , “Such clarity and finality can feel cruel, but adding additional language to ‘soften the blow’ only serves to create false hope.When rejecting people I want to encourage, I keep the format much the same, but am generally more detailed in my reason for rejecting and more explicit in encouraging the person to try again.(In the study I mentioned above, Dahlander and Piezunka found that providing an explanation about why an idea was being rejected bolstered the beneficial effects of rejection — eg, motivation and idea quality.) Thanks for your patience while I reviewed this proposal. We’ve published a lot on cybersecurity lately, and unfortunately the proposed piece overlaps a bit too much with other articles we’ve published.I hope you find a good home for it in another publication.Thanks for making the time to talk with me last week.