December 29, 2011

I Wish I Had Access to Everyone's Calendar

Well it’s back to the grind – which is actually a nice, quiet, snowy afternoon in Toronto. This stretch between Christmas and the New Year is a nice time to get some writing done and make sure things are ready to go in January.
One of the things I’m doing is coordinating an interview. While I’m super pumped to have successfully secured an interview, I wish there was an easier way to pin down a date and time. I always get an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach if the exchange regarding schedules goes beyond three emails. I know journalists are busy people, I know that my spokespeople are running a company; this is the one time being the middleman can be tough. I know this isn’t isolated to media relations. Anyone in business experiences this when coordinating meetings. What is the record number of emails exchanged to coordinate an interview?
My New Year’s resolution – I'll take this as a life lesson and try not to reschedule meetings!

1 comment:

  1. Coordination of meetings is and will always remain one of the eternal nightmares that God sends to PR people in order to prove he exists! One of the major issues is the tendency of journalists towards "lastminuteitis" - trying desperately to get that last interview in during the days (in some cases, hours) leading up to deadline.

    Industry interviews - at least with companies that have 'educated' PR managers - tend to be easier. Institutional interviews tend to be far more complex in their administrative details. My personal record for the number of e-mails to arrange an interview with a NATO commander some years ago was in excess of 70 - from the original request through massaging of questions that would get an answer to the actual 'joining instructions' for the interview. Although it was a successful and well received article at the end of the process, I vowed never to get involved in that complex an operation again!

    The problem is, there isn't an easy answer. My personal perspective (which is very subjective) is that the interviews I enjoy doing and that tend to produce the kind of article I like to put my name to are those arranged with PR contacts with whom I have a good relationship. It doesn't need to be pre-existing - some of my best interviews have been the first contact with that particular PR manager - but mutual understanding of the pressures, aspirations and objectives of both parties is a sine qua non for a successful interview, I think.

    The answer, then, is relationships. So it's a good job we're all "people people," isn't it?

    Happy New Year to one and all. May 2012 be the year in which we all get better at what we do and get more out of it.

    Tim Mahon
    Editor - Training & Simulation Forum