This awesome photo is courtesy of mediatejack
When I was in high school I secured a girl’s phone number kind of out of the blue, and decided that I would invite my friend over to witness the magic that was Brad Marley on the phone with members of the opposite sex. (Or, maybe this happened in college and I’m covering up how lame I was?)
He readily obliged, sensing an opportunity for hilarity, I’m sure.
As the telephone conversation quickly headed south, my friend picked up a toy airplane that he found in my basement and “flew” it out of control, which provided a helpful visual of the disaster that was unfolding before his eyes. Shortly after that demonstration, the girl I was talking to hung up. We never spoke again.
In a lot of ways, this is what happens every day in public relations. But within this form of adolescent rejection lies a strategy that will land you more stories:
Pretend you have a crush on the reporter. (Seriously.)
When was the last time you called a girl or guy you had your eye on without taking a few moments to mentally check-off the potential conversational pitfalls? Probably never, right?
As it happens, this is the same exact tactic you should take when you call a reporter. Sit down at your desk, write down every possible question they could ask, and make sure you have an answer. Or, at the very least, know who they can talk to if you can’t answer your question. (Yes, I know – you wouldn’t tell that girl in AP Geometry to call another guy for answers to the homework, but for the sake of this analogy, go with it.)
Not only will roadmapping the discussion help to make sure the conversation goes swimmingly, but it might get you an answer faster if the reporter has everything they need right away, which could lead to an amiable end to the talk.
Just, don’t blow it by asking them what they’re doing Saturday night.