Monday, October 26, 2009

Interviews...

I have mentioned how much I hate using the phone, right?
And how much I hate interviews?
 
The worst is scheduling interviews.  Making the call, explaining why I'm calling.  Sometimes you'd think I'm trying to pull their teeth when all I want is 20 minutes over the phone so I can write up a nice thing about their business.
 
It's basically an advertorial, free.  Who wouldn't want a free, high-quality article about their business? 
But no.  First, they have to rake me over the coals.
 
Suspicious.  "What's this going to cost me?"
Leery.  "What are you going to ask me about?"
Paranoid.  "Will we be the only business mentioned in the article?"  (actually, it's a good question, because the answer is usually no, and they'll be disappointed if they only find out when it's published)
Dumb.  "What should I talk about?" (Are you interested in promoting your business, or not???  If so, talk it up!  If you're enthusiastic enough, I'll write it down.)
Grateful.  "Oh, wow... that's wonderful!  Thank you SO much!"
Flight risk.  "Sure... anytime tomorrow; just call any time and I'll be here." (this is always a Jewish male, almost always Israeli (sometimes Russian)...and when I call, they are NOT there, which is why I now try to pin everybody down to an exact time)
Control-freak.  "I need to see the final article before it's printed."
 
The answer to that one is NO.  Never!  Never let anyone see an article before your editor... besides violating your contract, it invariably leads to all kinds of annoying and soul-killing changes on their part:  "I shouldn't have called the competitors 'weasels.'"  The closest I have come in recent years is calling somebody to read her back her own quotes which I had selected for the final article.  Out of context, but even then, there were a few things she wanted to change.  It's like hearing a recording of your voice; nobody ever thinks their quotes are good when they're read back to them. 
 
(except maybe me...I was quoted many years ago for a Star article about families who don't celebrate Hallowe'en, and I thought the reporter did a great job of encapsulating my views!)
 
Anyway:  scheduling.  In general, it is far easier if they're not there the first time I call.  I can leave a concise, polite message explaining the whole thing, and then they can gather their wits about them (and maybe a calendar) before calling me back.
 
Anyway, I'm proud of myself.  Seven preliminary phone calls down.  Of course, that means seven interviews still to do... but I'll just take this one ghastly step at a time.

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