Success! You’ve marketed, knocked on the door, pitched and now you’re invited to bid on a project that you’ve been dreaming about. The next step…. The Creative Call, or as I like to say – Phoning it in.
Be on Time. You must be punctual.
Use a landline for the call. Cell phones drop out, amplify background noise. Environment matters – wind makes background noise that cuts thru the phone speaker. If you’re in your studio, co-working space, or your kids are in the background… that background noise makes a bad impression on the agency on the phone, seems like your attention is not on the discussion, the project or them.
If you must call from a cell phone, make sure you’re in a quiet spot, that you have good cell coverage and that you have a full battery or charger.
Who’s on the call? Research them, use LinkedIn for insight into the creatives who will be on the conference. Schedule time to prepare for the call the day before.
Know what you sound like. Rehearse your pitch, record yourself, practice with a friend. Know what your vocal tone is saying. That you’re not sounding fearful or bored. Nervous and excited are ok, sighing, stammering, or being distracted is not ok. Know the importance of your voice – the quality, volume, and authority, make up for the intensity you can’t convey visually with an intensity you can convey verbally.
Have a grasp on the project, research the product or service… Check the news, read company press releases. Prepare yourself by making notes in advance. Don’t read them, of course. You can always tell when someone on the phone is reading… this goes back to your tone. Use this as a roadmap for the things you need to say, or questions you need to ask. Know what you are passionate about… why you’re the right fit for the project.
Keep your statements short – so you can get feedback. No interrupting – when someone speaks let him/her have the floor. When in doubt, don’t add your two cents. Name the speaker. If you’re on the call with your rep or your producer, name yourself: Hi, Angela here, I think….
Tend toward the serious side. A face-to-face meeting can be a playground for jokes. But a conference call, jokes don’t work because the comedic timing can be thrown off, because of the delay and lack of visual emotional cues. You can’t read body language or facial expression which is a key part of humor.
Focus. When we’re face-to-face, we’re forced to keep our eyes open, to not fidget, not yawn or allow our mind to wander… just because your hidden from view, don’t be lackadaisical … this may make you lose step with the conversation. Sit up straight, be attentive. Pay attention like you were in an actual conference room with all these people. Imagine everyone can see you, focus as if you were all in the same room.
Take good notes, keep a running list of takeaway and action items. Schedule time to follow-up and confirm action items – like when the treatment and budget are expected.
Preparation and mindfulness are small parts of the final success of a conference call. What you do during the call will be key in determining the level of connection you are able to form with the agency.
Send everyone a thank you email… even if you don’t get the project.
Next up – Someone else gets the job, what to do next.