"Hi, I need to speak to (name of producer)"
"Certainly, I'll be happy to connect you. And have a magical day."
Well, sure didn't expect to hear that, especially before the sun came up. It made me feel a little better. Obviously it's a Disney thing, but it was polite, classy and old school. And you guys know I love old school. But it illustrates the importance of phone etiquette, something that is sadly lacking in most newsrooms today.
I would guess that most of the time I have to call a local station, I get a lifeless, "Newsroom" from whoever answers the phone.
I'd much rather be told to have a magical day.
Imagine you're a viewer calling a station. You're a bit intimidated calling people you see on television, and then you're greeted with the same enthusiasm you'd get at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Callers need to "hear your smile." When you answer a call, you need to sound both cheerful and interested.
"Eyewitness News, this is John."
"Thank you for calling Action News, this is Mary."
And so on.
Make sure that you state your name when answering the phone, instead of just being an anonymous bored voice. The caller needs to feel welcome, to feel your interest. There may be a huge story tip on the other end of the call, and the person who shows the most interest is the most likely to make the caller feel at ease.
It takes about three seconds to offer a cheerful, warm greeting. The benefits can be great.
You can be cheerful for three seconds, right?