The Most Important Word PR Pros Should Use More Often: “NO”

This is going to be one of my shortest posts. Not because I don’t have a lot of thoughts on it, but because I don’t think you need a lot of words to get the point across on this one…

At times, there are clients (and even PR pros) that sound like nothing more than an infomercial.

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

“Lets 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 according to Mashable? We really want it.”

Whether the 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, doesn’t meet the company’s goals, and measuring its success is going to be an obstacle, say something! Don’t be a ‘yes man’ and nod your head at everything the client says just because they are client. As Paul Roberts mentioned to me today, 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 voice be heard. No, don’t come out and say, “That idea sucks,” but be polite and share your opinion. That’s what brainstorms are for.

At the end of the day, clients/colleagues are not always going to agree with you on many issues. However, it’s important to develop your own voice and give your perspective on things. If it’s an awesome idea, say so. If it’s not, speak up and be prepared to state your case in a professional manner. Either way, 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.

Related Articles


7 comments on “The Most Important Word PR Pros Should Use More Often: “NO”

  1. The timing of this could not be more perfect! I recently encountered a situation where I tried my hardest to stand my ground while a client kept pushing and pushing and pushing for something I knew was completely unnecessary and simply a waste of our time. As much as I tried to explain this to my client, they just were not getting it!

    I’m curious to hear your thoughts on how long/how many times you can say no to a client until you just throw up your hands and say OK?

    • This is an issue that many PR pros deal with, so don’t feel like you are alone in this. To answer your question, just get your point across. Don’t be a pest and say it over and over again. Be more concerned with getting your feelings out there the first time, and know when to stop pushing on it – evaluate the room, look at faces, listen to responses, etc. you’ll know when to stop.

  2. My thinking is that if you don’t trust my counsel, why are we in a business relationship? At the end of the day, if I do something that’s damaging to my client, I’m not doing them any favors, nor am I doing myself any favors if I’d like to have a long and productive career (ditto for the agency, if I’m working for one).

    Another side to this for people working in-house are those higher ups who think you’re just being negative or lack vision. I say if senior execs don’t value their marketing staff’s professional judgement, it behooves the professional to find a business with executives that do.

  3. Pingback: 4 Key Signs A Journalist Is “Just Not That Into You” |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s