DIARY: RANT

I know we sell stuff - the channel, our airtime, our personalities, our lives - but why can’t our employers fully prepare us with a handy fact sheet on small talk?

I know we sell stuff - the channel, our airtime, our personalities,

our lives - but why can’t our employers fully prepare us with a handy

fact sheet on small talk?



We spend our days on the phone, we e-mail our contacts endlessly. But

there are only so many ways can you say: ’What did you do last night?’,

’What did you do at the weekend?’, or ’What are you doing next

weekend?’.



This is made twice as difficult if you have a hangover. Then you have to

spend the first half of the conversation cringing in mute horror while

being told exactly what you did at the IAA Ball, and how funny you were

when you tried to teach the president to breakdance ...



Of course, it can go the other way. Many times I’ve called an agency and

got so embroiled in small talk that I forgot why I called in the first

place.



The worst occasion, however, was when I telephoned an agency person to

give him some research information. The contact was pretty depressed as

he had just lost a client, despite supplying them with a lot of data and

sweet-talk.



So I tried to cheer him up with a little humour. This seemed to work,

until I said I bet he wished he was outside in the sun with a nice, cool

pint (it was the height of the summer). He told me he didn’t drink.

’Oh’, I said. ’You’re some sort of health freak.’



’No’ he replied, ’I’m an alcoholic.’



Needless to say, we haven’t got them on air.



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