I was once, oddly and extremely excitingly, asked to give a talk. The talk was to a PR company (any other PR companies should stop reading now please) and it was about ‘Wooing Journalists’. Despite being so nervous I had to change my shirt in the taxi on the way to their offices (after which, naturally, I felt no need to give a tip to the taxi driver, or to look him in the eye as I gathered up my sweaty clothes and paid him), the talk went surprisingly well.
It occurs to me, writing about this now, that my personal bar for ‘things going well’ may be slightly lower than other peoples. This morning I congratulated myself on remembering my oyster card as I left for work.
The PR company paid for my talk, so I’m certainly not going to regurgitate it here for you for free (anyone who wishes to pay to hear it, do, by all means, contact me. Even you, test audience of little sister, who begged me to stop ‘following her around practising your serious journalist face’), but I will give you a taste:
“When inviting people to things, whatever they may be, let them know who else will be attending.”
This pearl of wisdom has endless applications, and its value often depends upon wildly different reasons, but it is always right.
I have just been informed that this evening’s events include someone I dislike intensely. Luckily, my host has double-booked herself, so it will be just the 2 of us, me and my object of dislike, for dinner.
If I didn’t know first-hand how badly my host manages her diary, I would assume something improper was under-way.
Equally, a few weeks ago I was lured, tired and unwilling to go out, to the pub with the duplicitous promise that someone I very much wanted to see (imagine Ryan Gosling, but less worryingly good at portraying psychopaths) was certain to attend.
In fact, I may have to ring up the PR company and insist I re-give my talk:
“Don’t mislead people. And tell them who’s on the guestlist.”
(If you need me, I’ll be busy the rest of today booking talks with schools and church groups).