How Public Relations Professionals Can Say “No”

There is no need to take on an assignment that will not benefit your organization or company, let alone the company or organization that is seeking to hire you. Public relations involves adhering to ethics and this includes only taking on tasks that you know have the potential for success, not tasks that don’t have the potential for success. Don’t worry about this reflecting negatively on your capabilities or skill set, it won’t.

When to Say “No”

Say "no" before taking on a project. If you agree to take on an assignment, take it on. You're giving the client the “green light,” meaning you're opening the door for them to depend on you. It’s your responsibility to research a company or cause before taking on the responsibility of doing their public relations.

Say "no" if you feel a product or cause is out of your scope. If your company or agency specializes in a specific market, it may be wise to stick to the market it's known for. An exception would be a project that you feel is one of a kind project that won't be a major conflict of interest.

Say "no" if you don’t feel you can meet the deadline. There are companies that rush to find an agency or public relations specialist to take on projects that haven't even been started. Even if you believe in miracles, the chances of meeting a given deadline may be far and in-between. Offer an alternative deadline or give a list of what can be done by the deadline before turning down a request.

How to Say “No”

Lead with a "thank you." If you are chosen to lead a company in their marketing efforts, they obviously feel that you are capable of helping them increase their visibility, credibility, and valuation. Acknowledge that your hard work has been acknowledged.

Let the company know why you can’t meet their needs. Whether it be a deadline, conflict of interest, or something that is outside of the scope of what you would normally do, be honest about the reasons why you're turning down an assignment.

Recommend other resources for getting the job accomplished. There will come a time when you will be "booked up," or something will be out of your scope of work. Provide recommendations to people, agencies, or companies who can perform certain job functions.

For more ways to say "no" click here

Historian: Charonda Edwards