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How to get someone’s attention — a shocking suggestion 15 November 2017

You’re busy, I’m busy.  So I keep these little thoughts, all nicked from the TV newsroom, to five pithy paragraphs.  If they’re helpful, do share them!

I got the shock of my life the other day.  A press officer called up the newsroom, spoke to me, and asked if I’d be interested in a story.  She said she thought it might be right for our audience, perhaps in the light-hearted slot before the weather.

She hadn’t emailed me.  She hadn’t used Mailchimp.  She hadn’t sent me anything at all.  What she had done, I thought to myself, was rather revolutionary.  She had actually communicated with me, making me and my programme feel valued.  And that made me warm to her — and her story.  So I then asked her to email me all the details.

Somewhere over the last twenty or so years, it seems to me, our ideas of communication have got scrambled.  I do it myself running my business: I’ll reach the end of the day and feel that because I’ve sent fifty emails, I’ve communicated with fifty people.  But I haven’t really: I’ve offered information to fifty people who are probably drowning in information already, possibly annoyed some of them, and may well have been ignored by most of the rest.

So I try to call people more these days, and it’s having wonderful results.  I think using speech shows you actually care.  A very senior TV News Editor confided in me once that when he gets a complaint, before he touches his keyboard he tries to call the person to talk it through.  They’re usually so flattered that peace immediately breaks out.  When I run my TV News themed business-skills workshops, I try and call up as many of the guests as possible a day or two beforehand to ask them what they hope to get out of it.  Several have told me it puts them at ease about something they may have been a bit nervous about.

Of course, you can’t call everyone, all the time.  Calling up someone who has no reason at all to want to hear from you amounts to cold-calling, and I’m not recommending too much of that.  But if a relationship is already established, I’d suggest picking up the phone as soon as possible.  It might be the shock that jump-starts the relationship.

If you’d like to find out more about how I create mini-newsrooms in your workplace to help your staff develop their focus, timekeeping and decision-making, do give me a call on 01273 606246 or 07850 188620!   Though an email will be welcome, too …

Pic courtesy of arstechnica.co.uk

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