I was at the business end of a cold snub the other week from a top designer’s PR that left me feeling quite hurt and a bit bewildered as to why (there was no actual reason given by the PR for why she was saying no to my featuring the new gowns…). I’ve heard of some big fashion names looking unfavourably upon the blogs, denying their worth at the table of fashion journalism, but this was my first personal experience of it. It wasn’t nice.
Partly, I was disappointed I’d now not be able to show you all the stunning dresses I’d been loving, and still love. Followed very closely by a wobble in my confidence and self-esteem. Was my blog just too rubbish or silly or worthless?? I made the decision then and there to consciously boot that shit away from me and quick smart. No way was I going to let it seep in and affect me or knock down all the compliments and support from so many people, both in and out of the industry. Where was the point in that?! It’s so easy to let one negative thing undo everything else, and we’ve all been there in letting it get in under the skin.
I looked at it as coldly as they had, and I made a business (and personal) decision to just accept the no that was at the heart of the matter. The no I was fine with, obviously, it was the delivery that bit and rankled. I remembered that it’s something that I too have said to people when their request isn’t quite the right fit (for either of us). It’s perfectly OK to say no. But, I always make sure that when I say no, it’s accompanied by a personable explanation plus a genuine thanks and yay for what they’re doing, you know, to support my fellow human being doing what we’re all doing, which is making a living and reaching out from time to time. I think that’s what must be done so as to be decent and kind. Most people can accept a no if it’s done with a bit of care. Business can be tough, so why make it tougher by being awful to someone?
The point of this post is, don’t worry about a no if it comes in a snooty package. It says more about the person delivering it and their personality than it does about your product/blog/brand/self. Don’t merge the two things and conclude your offering is rubbish. It isn’t. Forgive them, keep rocking your brand, and be lovely and excellent to others. It’s the type of world that feels better when you’re kind, despite what’s thrown your way, and when you smile through the rejection. Trust me, it always turns out to have been the right thing anyway, even if it didn’t feel that way at the time!
Here are ten dos and don’ts that might help you if someone says no, rudely or otherwise:
- Don’t let it faze you – your product, your brand, and you are magnificent. This just wasn’t the right match.
- Do remember all those who think you’re awesome – they haven’t gone anywhere!
- Do think of any cons to the collaboration to get some perspective and reduce disappointment.
- Do think of this in a business way not a personal way. It totally helps to be objective. It’s difficult when your business is your baby, you feel like you’ve been personally rejected, but it wasn’t seen that way by the person saying no. Don’t blur the lines.
- Don’t be afraid to say no yourself – it’s a necessary thing to protect your voice, credibility and brand. It’s not the same as being an asshole. Assholability depends on the way you dish out your no. Be cool with your no and you’re walking the right line.
- Don’t spread the bummedness around – always say no with grace, reason, kindness and respect. It’ll come back to you.
- Do keep approaching people and don’t let one rude version of a no put you off. There are a million and one perfect partners for your business out there just waiting to be discovered!
- Don’t be a wuss. Being on the receiving end of a brusque manner isn’t going to kill you.
- Do give the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps the person is having a tough ride at the moment. You never know if later they’ll feel bad about it. Send out a ‘forget about it!’ vibe in their direction then move on. Helps everyone, that one.
- Do smile. What else can you do!
Finally, look at it this way, the big fat impolite and condescending no that slapped me in the face has actually led to a big, positive blog post about it all, so there are pros to everything!