The Worst They Can Do Is Say No

Letters From Bear // Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Although it’s a bleak start to a blog post, Gen Z has the sharpest rise in mental health issues, with many seeking help for low self-esteem and anxiety, two amongst many. Approaching strangers is scary, and some can’t handle being in a crowd. Face-to-face communication is key in the real world, whether you’re closing a business deal or giving your order to a Chipotle employee.

So, in a generation with sky-rocketing mental health issues, how can we begin to solve these communication problems?

Well, the best advice I’ve heard from multiple people is this: the worst they can do is say no.

To clear any misunderstandings, The Tardigrade Group and its employees are not claiming to be experts in psychology or mental health. However, this piece of advice might be a small step in a long journey to overcoming at least some aspects of anxiety.

So, what do we mean by the worst they can do is say no?

It literally means just that. The worst someone can say to you when you try to ask for advice, meeting, or a pitch is say no. The alternative is ignoring your call or email.

Say you’re trying to pitch your idea to us, but your nerves or your anxiety prevent you from doing that, and you end up deleting the draft. Here’s a template you can use:

Hey guys,
My name is (name) and I’m a (age)-year-old from (state). I’d like to tell you my startup, (startup name). It’s a (one sentence description). It would be great if we can schedule a call or meeting to explain (startup name) a little bit more in detail.

Of course, you don’t have to have a startup name right away. If you do, that’s great, but don’t panic if you don’t. Plenty of great companies didn’t come up with their names in the first second they were founded. Even Google took two years to change its search engine name from BackRub to Google.

(BackRub? Really?)

If there’s an investor or a mentor in the area you really want to talk to, use that template, with a few minor tweaks.

Hi (name of person),
My name is (your name), and I’m a (age)-year-old from (city, state). I am interested in (field), and was wondering if I could grab a coffee meeting with you to discuss it, as I have a lot of questions and would love to understand (field) from someone working in it.
Thank you,
(your name)

Remember, the worst they can do is say no, and you can respect that, because people might be busy. If they say no, thank them, and move onto the next person. Your first yes and first meeting will boost your confidence to send the next email and set your next meeting.

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