A few months ago, I was asked to give an oral presentation to some families a coworker of mine worked with, with only two days' notice. The presentation would have been on a topic I had no prior expertise in. I declined, saying "I'm not the best person to give a presentation on that," and suggested someone more appropriate. I thought that would be the end of it.
But this CW--let's call her "K."--asked me via email to do the presentation anyway, this time on an HR-related topic. Technically, it would have been possible. I didn't have any other commitments that night. But I didn't want to give up a free evening to do something that a) wasn’t required for my job; and b) TBH, I found about as appealing as having a root canal. With no anesthesia. (I can do public speaking if I have to--but I certainly don't enjoy it, and would NOT volunteer for it in my off time!)
K.'s supervisor, let's call her J., heard about my initial "no" and tried to guilt-trip me into doing the presentation, because it would be "good for teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeamwork." But I knew the last-minute request was rooted in a lack of planning on their part, and I didn't feel that should constitute an emergency on mine. Especially when K. wasn't being clear on the time commitment required--and I got conflicting information from J. on how long the presentation would have to be and how many times it would have to be given.
(J. was excited about the possibility of my doing the presentation in both English and Lavenderese, which I happen to speak. I suspect this may be a reason K. asked me. But it would have meant giving two presentations instead of one, and therefore at least doubling the time commitment. <BG>J. already had a history of asking me to do projects for her department that ended up taking much more time than I'd been led to believe.</BG>)
Here is what I actually said after speaking with both J. and K.: "No, sorry, I won’t be able to do the presentation. I’m not comfortable with the time commitment involved—and I’d rather say no than make a commitment I may not be able to keep.”
I'm well aware my spine is in need of some polish--but E-Hell is one of the reasons I've been growing one. Thank you!