6 ways communicators can say ‘no’

Feel like you’re getting roped into projects that aren’t part of your job and don’t use your talents well? Here are a few ways to politely refuse.

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At a recent happy hour for PR, marketing, and communications professionals, the talk turned to work matters. We all began sharing our triumphs, struggles, ideas and solutions.

Factoring in staffing constraints, workloads, and sometimes-outlandish demands from clients and executives, communications professionals are universally overworked. Increasingly they’re being asked to do more with less. We began discussing ideas on how to gracefully say “no” to a project that simply can’t be taken on.

Here are some ideas shared by the group, which you might find useful.

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. She ended up with many of her employees organizing parties and ordering 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.”

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