your cut out and keep guide to saying ‘no’ to daft requests - part 2: the revenge

Last month we started a discussion around how comms teams often have to say no to colleagues and that this can be tricky. But the list of 'no’s' was bigger than we thought...

by Gillian Neild 

I agree with Darren Caveney in his post that comms teams have received disparaging looks from colleagues when we have had to say no to daft requests. It’s all too easy to forget we have been employed for some very specialist knowledge, so when we do say no, there’s a good reason for it.

So here’s part 2 of our 'cut out and keep' guide to saying no to daft requests (and, yet again - very sadly - all of these are also real.)

Let’s do a flashmob!

Let’s not. It’s been done to distraction and it’s not that novel any more. Plus you’re not dancers and it’ll look a bit homespun because we can’t afford a 200 strong professional dance troupe.

We’ve created a Vision and Values for our team and need to publish them

What’s wrong with the organisation-wide vision and values that lots of staff spent lots of time to create and that everyone has signed up to and already guide everything we do? Every team having their own V&V just dilutes what we’re trying to do as one joined up organisation - and hey, what we have pretty much says what we do, so let’s just have one V&V, okay.

We need a display stand for an exhibition

OK yes, we’re all for a professional, clean and well managed exhibition stand. When we say this, we don’t mean one that has five different pull-up banners, plus homespun posters on the wall and a giant trestle table with a paper tablecloth that doesn’t quite fit the whole table length blocking the entrance and creating a barrier to the people we need to engage with. Let’s keep it simple and clean.

We’re planning an event / service change / have some news so can you send out this press release we’ve written?

OK thanks for that. Just think about why you might have a specialist team to write that press release and we’ll see if what you’ve written is likely to be used by our very valuable media contacts shall we… … (nothing else to add here…)

We’ve created a poster / newsletter / flyer in Microsoft Publisher - can you check it over before we send it out?

In our experience such materials will never gain awards for their design or content that meets our house style; plus we have a graphic designer in our comms team so there is only one answer to this question ... we have standards you know.

In short, we’re all about using public sector resources smartly, as well as protecting some of the most recognised brand names in the world - especially in NHS comms teams. So please, stop asking us about daft stuff cos we like to be ‘yes’ people but sometimes you can really push us to our limits!

Gillian Neild is an NHS Head of Communications, PR and Marketing, CIPR Accredited Practitioner and recent graduate of the MSc Corporate Communications at Leeds Beckett University.