6 ways communicators can say ‘no’

PR pros and corporate communicators juggle a multitude of tasks each and every day. Don’t feel pressured to take on unnecessary extra work. Here’s how you can politely decline.

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We’re increasingly being asked to do more with less, but sometimes we have to say “no” to a project or offer that cannot be accomplished.

Here are six ways you can decline politely, but firmly:

1. Just say “no.” This is easier said than done.

I once worked in a department where the director told her staff that they couldn’t say “no” to anything. Many of her employees organized parties and ordered refreshments along with setting up marketing launches and media events.

There is nothing wrong with saying, “We don’t set up or monitor surveys, but we can help you write the survey questions,” or, “Please have someone take the picture and send it to us.”

2. Create a statement of work or a department manifesto. Follow the lead of engineers and IT professionals who are experts at fighting “scope creep.”

A statement of work outlines the exact parameters of the project and specifies dates, what’s expected, and who will do what.

A department manifesto describes exactly what your department does and does not do. For example: “We are not content experts, but we can help your content experts shape the message.”

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