From time to time, folks ask me for some tips on the "Art of the Interview."
The topic came to mind this week when I met with a prospective Chicago-based client and spent most of the time telling him that his first step needs to be investing money on another service (a robust website over which he has full control) before he should seriously consider hiring a publicist.
In my view, retaining my company, either in the moment or sometime down the line, was not the definition of a successful meeting. Instead, of foremost concern was identifying what he needed to do next so that he had the best chance to thrive in his new endeavor, a training-and-speaking consultancy focused on the prevention of and recovery from sexual abuse.
A crucial element that enabled the forthright trust-building communication: we met face-to-face. It's a vital element in any Q & A interaction: that old-fashioned, quaint practice of actually being with the person you are speaking to or interviewing.
In an era where phone calls seem to be viewed as "going the extra mile," I realize that it may seem revolutionary to recommend you go to all the trouble of being in the same physical space as the person with whom you are talking. And this is particularly challenging to some if it means getting into a mode of transportation and traveling more than a few miles to make it happen.
But it's an undeniably powerful thing--whether you are a journalist chasing down a story, a publicist working on crafting a news release or developing a communications plan, or anyone else seeking to foster a relationship. After all, success (or failure) hinges largely on our ability to develop trust in our relationships.
And that's pretty hard to accomplish when all you've got to work with are words on a screen or a voice on the other end of a phone.