The word PR pros should use more often: ‘No’

If you don’t agree with a client or colleague, speak up and give your opinion. Just don’t be disrespectful.

Sometimes there are clients—even PR pros—who sound like an infomercial.

“We want a mobile app that is going to let you do 20 different things with just the touch of a button.”

“Let’s suggest the client build its blog on Tumblr because WordPress is so 2010.”

“Have you heard about that shiny, new social media tool that was launched last week? We really want it.”

Say a client comes to you with an idea for a new social media campaign or a suggestion for a PR event. If it doesn’t make sense for the brand, fails to meet the company’s goals, or will be difficult to measure, say something! Don’t be a “yes man” and nod your head at everything the client says just because they are the client.

As Paul Roberts once mentioned to me, ask “why” or “why not” when discussing ideas. Clients hire you for your support and counsel. They want—or should want—to know your thoughts.

The same goes for internal brainstorms with your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to speak up just because you are the most junior person in the room. If you don’t agree with an idea or have a different take on it, let your colleagues hear your voice. Don’t come out and say, “That idea sucks,” but be polite and share your opinion. That’s what brainstorms are for.

Clients and colleagues are not always going to agree with you on issues. However, it’s important to develop your own voice and give your perspective. If it’s a great idea, say so. If it’s not, be prepared to state your case in a professional manner. Nobody wins if you keep your mouth shut, go along with an idea you don’t agree with, or never offer any feedback or suggestions.

Do you say ‘no’ enough?

Andrew Worob is a public relations professional with 10 years of PR and media experience. He blogs at PR at Sunrise, where a version of this article originally ran.

Topics: PR

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