A Publicist’s Guide to Handling Rejection

Topics: Tools, Miscellaneous, Management


Reading Time: 2 minutes

Rejection holds no bias in personal or professional situations. And while it is something we humans try to avoid or overcome; running from rejection leads to missed opportunities. It takes a special kind of person to welcome rejection.

Working in public relations guarantees rejection on an almost daily basis. Hey, if you’re not being rejected, you are not reaching far enough or asking for enough.  When I entered public relations I wasn’t prepared for the amount of times I would inevitably be turned down, ignored and dismissed. Rejection came from clients and journalists alike; I found myself fighting a two front war, often.  In order to survive emotionally and professionally (and not end each day curled up in the fetal position with lower self esteem) I needed to embrace rejection with open arms.

The following 4 tips help me in my pursuit of becoming one of those special people that can open their arms to being told “no”.

  1. Mindset- Be optimistic: say affirmations to yourself (especially if you are nervous or self-doubting). Be confident: begin with straight posture before and during your proposition. And remember: you know what you are talking about.
  2. Change your expectations- Expectations often lead to disappointment, so focus on smaller victories. “The reporter will respond to me.” Building a relationship and conversing is success, even if it doesn’t lead to a “yes” in the initial situation.
  3. Embrace failure. Get excited about failing! Pushing our boundaries can lead to great outcomes (in the form of stories, relationships, and ideas).  James Reilly, of Entrepreneur, talks about “Failure is not a reflection of self…it is isolated.” Failure is a learning experience- nothing more.
  4. Evaluate- What did you learn? What could you have done differently? If you walk away with a valuable lesson for the future, then that is a success.

Growth doesn’t come from remaining in your comfort zone. Xiao-Li Meng, a statistics professor says, “Statistically, you are rejected, and probabilistically, it is fair.” So, get out there, and start getting rejected!

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