How to politely decline unsolicited advice

Getting feedback is a part of every job, but sometimes that feedback isn’t helpful or pertinent. Here’s how to sidestep comments that miss the mark without starting a fight.

No matter where it comes from, unsolicited advice often goes awry.

It’s one thing to receive feedback when you’ve asked for it. It’s quite another to receive unsolicited advice from an officious co-worker or your mother-in-law.

Even worse is when the “advisor” demands detailed explanations of your decisions and argues with you if you don’t follow their suggestions. This behavior can stall your projects, waste time, and derail your self-confidence.

Here are a few ways to politely and professionally tell your “advisors” to mind their own business (even when we’re fuming and secretly want to say something else):

 

  • “I like the idea. Though I’m not sure how it would work. Let me think about that.”

 

  • “You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thanks.”

 

  • “That may have been the case in your situation. But in this situation, I’m dealing with a client who has never heard of Instagram.”
  • “I’ve never thought about that. Let me talk to my [colleagues/client/boss/child’s pediatrician] and see what [he/she] thinks.”

 

  • “I understand why you think that might work. But here’s why it won’t.”

 

  • “I appreciate that you have more overall experience in building social media campaigns. But I have more experience with this particular client, and I know this is what they want.”

 

  • “I considered your advice and decided that a town hall meeting is the better way to tell employees about the change.”

 

  • “It makes perfect sense that you’re frustrated by John’s failure to meet the deadline. However, sending that email will not solve the problem.”

 

  • “I want to understand what you’re trying to accomplish with this feedback. Can you explain the reasoning behind it?”

 

  • “Thanks for offering to help, but [my boss/the account rep/customer service] prefers that I handle all requests from this client.”

 

  • “I’m confused about why that would be a better solution.”

 

  • “I understand your concerns, but it’s the job of my department to protect the brand. That’s why we are not advertising on that website.”

PR Daily Readers, how do you say “Thanks, but no thanks”? Add your rejoinders below.

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.

 

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