Here is a simple exercise with William Ury's positive no approach which you can try out with a colleague or a friend. Use the following steps as a guideline.
1. What is your 'no'?
Think of a situation in which you cannot agree or don't want to agree with what some else (a customer, a colleague, a manager) asks of you. Describe this situation. What exactly is it you are saying 'no' to?
2. What is your underlying 'yes!'?
What is your good reason for saying 'no'? Which (positively formulated) interests, needs, values, principles are your reason for saying 'no' in this situation?
3. What is your alternative suggestion?
How can show that you are striving for a good relationship with the person and that you willing to do your best to achieve some kind of agreement? Which alternative suggestion can you make?
4. Practice this conversation with your friend.
Instruct your partner how he or she should behave and respond while the two of you are practicing. Use solution focused techniques to respond to possible disappointment or anger on the part of your conversation partner. Keep your attitude clear and friendly, understanding yet determined.
5. Hold on to what worked for you
Reflect on the exercise and take a note of what worked well in this situation. How might you use this?