This past week, my internship was gearing up for the opening of American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. In preparation, we held a press preview luncheon, inviting the press to learn more about the exhibit and check it out before it opened to the public. One of the tasks I was given for the day was to call a few stations to see if they were going to be able to make it to the luncheon. Internally, I froze a little bit. I’ve always felt awkward talking on the phone for some reason. I sweat, stutter and stammer when I talk to anyone besides my friends and family. Embarrassing. But after I finished with the follow-up calls, I was able to come away with increased confidence using the tips below:
Write down what you want to say: It sounds juvenile, but if it helps, go for it! I know that when I get on the phone I talk too fast, so I make sure to write down what exactly I want to say. This way I don’t leave out anything important.
Be quick: When you call the news desk, they won’t have time to chit chat for hours. Just give the basics of your event i.e. the who, what, where and when.
Be prepared: Almost every time they will ask you to resend your press release or media alert. Even if you know they received it, be prepared to press send so its fresh in their inbox and easily accessible.
Maintain your composure: It can be intimidating when someone answers your call with a no-nonsense, “News Desk,” as a greeting. Try to keep your cool and speak in an even manner. Don’t worry! The press are people too and they need you just as much as you need them.
Do you have any additional tips for follow up calls? Let us know?