For those of us who work in public relations, “yes” is often a default position. We’re trained to serve our clients, serve our communities, and serve the public interest. A client asks for a strategic plan and we get to work. A reporter asks for information and we quickly follow-up. Ours is a service industry, after all.
But sometimes the best service we can provide is to say, “no.”
Saying no to a client or boss paying you thousands of dollars a month can be hard to do, but it’s always better than saying yes to a bad idea. Clients and companies pay us to provide advice, and that means we need to advise. If you believe a client is about to make a mistake, stop them and counsel them on how to make their idea work more effectively. If your CEO asks you to issue a news release about something that’s not newsworthy, tell them why that’s a bad idea.
We often talk about the need for public relations to have a seat at the boardroom table. The quickest way to lose your seat is to say yes to every question.