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Say What???

by Lena West Lakshmi_lena_west_4
guest blogger

I believe I mentioned previously that I have about 8 articles due before October 1st. Ok, so, I'm still conducting interviews. Now, I'm going to keep this week's blog posting short because I want you to read the quote below a couple of times so that you can see just how wrong, wrong, wrong it *really* is. Wow.

I received this response from the PR agent of a large online survey company in response for my request for a deadline-sensitive article:

“Thanks for the reminder on changing my vmail. I would be happy to have a call with you to qualify your [publisher’s] needs. I actually am the PR coordinator for [online survey company] and will be able to place you in contact with our methodologist should there be an interest. Unfortunately I will be out of pocket all day on Wednesday but work with a team that will be able to accommodate logistics should there be a need for you to speak with someone on Wednesday.”

You just can’t make this stuff up. I swear.

If you don't get it, here are a few clues:

1) This PR agent's voice mail said she would be back in town on September 6th - I was calling her on September 12th! Keep your voice mail updated. And, if you don't want to bother, use a service like Virtual PBX and let them do it for you! And, this from a PR agent who is supposed to be at the top of her game? Inexcusable.

2) Since when does media need to "qualify"?  Either you want to be quoted or you don't. Period. I was *very* clear about the type of story I was doing and who it was for...what's there to qualify for???  And, even if there is some sort of media 'process'...using the word 'qualify' was poor word choice.

3) "...should there be an interested"?  Is this who they have representing them?

4) What is a methodologist? Are these people serious?

5) Kill the jargon! "...out of pocket all day on Wednesday but work with a team that will be able to accommodate logistics..." is, as my friend Will says, Southern-fried double-talk. If you nix the business-speak on your own, try the BullFighter software. Seriously.

Please don't do what this PR agent did when dealing with the media. Ever.


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Cheryl Miller

That's our Lena....telling it like it is. Totally.

Lena L. West


I'm glad someone out there agrees with me. It's so frustrating to get this round-about communication from PR people who are tring to sound more important than they are.

I'm starting to realize more and more that good communication skills are not as common as I think they are.

Guest Blogger,

Josiane Feigon

Yes- fantastic entry and I completely share you sentiment on this. It drives me crazy when I get these fluffy emails that don't mean a thing or go anywhere. I admire your direct and brave approach.

Lena West


Actually, it was me (Lena) who posted that blog post but, thank you! I agree wholeheartedly!

Guest Blogger,

Meikah Delid

I agree with you Yvonne, it's not a very good way to establish a relationship. Messages should be simple, direct to the point, and oozing with sincerity. :-d

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