08 October 2008

Stalked and garbled

So there I was this morning, fuelled on my favourite Columbian coffee and putting my article together. I'd already completed a couple of interviews and done my background research. Now I was writing it up and rearranging the paragraphs, reworking sentences and making sure what I had planned in my head was what was appearing on the screen. I had just one interview to go.

The phone rang.

- hello, says I.

- hi, it's xxx here. I hear you're writing an article about us.

- um, yes I am. I was actually about to ring you. (I really was. You can't write a story without letting the other party have their say.)

Hmmm, was my interviewee psychic? Stalking me?* We agreed to chat again in 5 minutes' time so I could get an official statement. In the interim I turned the air bluer than Jamie Oliver's latest programme, while I frantically ripped my office apart hunting for my Retell 156.** I found it and wired it in with seconds to spare. Then breathed out and flipped the "record" switch.

Sheesh, ain't that always the way when you get caught on the hop. At least my stalkerinterviewee had no idea how unorganised I was.

Copy filed, I nipped out for a bit and returned to find an offer of work on my phone. The message was so garbled that I had to listen 5 times to figure out their phone number and I had no idea of the person's name. Then it was my turn to go stalking as I googled the number to get a company name and, importantly, the name of the person who just rang. This is one reason why email follow-ups are very useful. If I leave a voicemail for someone, I often mail them afterwards just to make sure my message is clear and they have all my contact details to hand.

* Joke!

** This nifty bit of kit doesn't look like owt special, but it plugs into the phone and a digital recorder so you can record a two-way conversation.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely HATE voice mail!
Last week I had a message with a great proposal... the guy left me the desciprion of the job, his name... but did not leave any contact information... and what is worse? the number he called from was withheld!!


Unknown said...

I couldn't manage without voicemail as my landline is my main phone but I'm not always at my desk and new clients often call rather than email. I'm really glad I went Sherlock yesterday as I had a meeting with this client today and have picked up a great copywriting gig as a result.

Callers who don't leave contact details are just dumb. But the really annoying thing is they will think you couldn't be bothered to call them back because it will never occur to them that they forgot to give you their details.