Is she a good talker?


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You’d think something that dominates so much of my day would be more epic looking

I use the phone quite a bit in my internship and most of the conversations after I hang up revolve around one question- Is he (or she) a good talker?

I’m still not sure if this phrase is grammatically correct, but everyone at the office seems to use it.

At the radio station where I work, a person’s social skills are their most treasured tools. We have a lot of guests come into the office for various purposes. The talk show I specifically work with covers anything from the forest road closures in Walla Walla, Washington to the face behind Bob’s Red Mill. I’m responsible for greeting all the guests and making them feel comfortable before they go on the air with our host. I’m also responsible for answering the phones during the show, researching discussion topics, and pre-interviewing guests.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not exactly the most social person. Sometimes I’d rather be alone in my room watching pug videos on a Friday night than out with my gal-pals.

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By sometimes, I mean most of the time. Pugs are really cute.

Taking these tasks in the first week was a bit overwhelming for me. When I’m nervous, I tend to become more withdrawn than usual, so performing my best in these tasks was extra difficult. But after two or three days, I began picking up new social skills while determining if a guest or caller is personable and informed enough to go on the air. The producers I work with ask me “Is he/she a good talker?” after each call. My response is almost always dependent on the caller’s skills and my ability to facilitate the discussion by asking direct questions and cutting in whenever necessary.

One thing I learned is that people are more likely to share when they know a little bit about me. It humanizes the interview process.

I may not be a “good talker” naturally, but I’m improving every day. I’m excited to have this internship to practice and do what I enjoy- hearing and broadcasting stories.

 Shannon McGuire

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About shanabeet

I’m an uncoordinated-rock-climbing-news-junkie currently enrolled in the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication
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11 Responses to Is she a good talker?

  1. pdxsx says:

    Keep practicing your “talking” skills, Shannon. You’ll get there!

    ~J

  2. wilsonemily says:

    My job has a lot of the same phone talking skills too! It’s crazy how important such a trivial thing as talking on the phone can be! But the thing I’ve noticed (and you’ve probably noticed too) is that the more people you talk to, the easier the interviewing gets. Good luck on your talking skills!

    -Emily

  3. agavette says:

    I think that’s a great thing to realize–that people open up more once they get to know you, the interviewer. This can really come in handy when you’re reporting, or even just networking (or meeting new people in general). I’ve also found that when you get a good rapport going, you tend to get a better connection and, therefore, a better result for your storytelling! I get nervous when it comes to talking to strangers on the phone too, but sometimes you have to fake it ’til you make it–and confidence comes with time and experience! Good luck!

    Allie

  4. rkaapu says:

    Great post Shannon!
    One thing I have come to realize in the journalism field is that you build a close personal relationship with the telephone. It has been in my experience to call people I don’t know and get them to positively review my “talking” skills, which can be very uncomfortable but gets easier as you go along. What a great position to be in though; you get to be the decision maker! You get to report who you thought was worthy and who didn’t make the cut. This sounds like a wonderful internship.
    Good luck.
    P.S. Feel free to share links to those funny pug videos. (I’m a sucker for animals and the things they do!)

  5. Alysha Beck says:

    I like your honesty about how it can be difficult to be a social person in the workplace. I feel it’s important to be more outgoing when you’re in a new environment and are trying to make a good impression on your coworkers. But I also have a hard time opening up and being myself in front of new people. I thought Josh had good advice from our last class about how you can have a work persona and a home persona. I find that just putting on my nicer work clothes helps me get into a work persona.

    But it sounds like you are involved in some really cool things at your internship. I hope you keep improving and enjoying your work!

  6. codynewton says:

    I’ve always found some of the most introverted people to be the best at dealing with strangers. That sounds really backwards, but I think many introverted people are good at putting a lot of thought in to the things they do. That’s not to say extroverts don’t, but I think it’s something that people never expect from an introvert. I’m sure when you talk to someone you’re not just waiting for your turn to talk because, according to you, you’d rather not be talking. So you go in to the situation already willing to listen.

    It sounds like they have you doing really important stuff over there. Good work!

  7. Allyson Will says:

    I think that your supervisors matched you perfectly with the work you do. You are a calm and welcoming person, which is a great trait for someone who is greeting people as they come in. Someone with your personality is exactly what people hope to encounter when they are nervous before a talk show. I have seen everything you have done at work so far and I know that you are doing an amazing job! I don’t think a day has gone by where I don’t overhear one of your supervisors tell you what a great idea you had or what an awesome job you did on a certain task. Congrats on your internship! I know you are doing an amazing job!

  8. zolfaghari says:

    Shannon, I like the honesty in your post. We all go through the stages where we ask ourselves, “Am I socially awkward?” or, ” Do I know how to talk to people?” I know that I went through that for years, and still do from time to time even to this day. Nothing wrong with that. I think the trick to that is to remember who you are and to try sprinkling that on top of whatever your professional task is. That way, people are left with something to remember; something unique and personal. I think you’ll continue improve without any problems. That’s what these internships are all about, anyway!

  9. michelletag says:

    I think it’s great that you’re getting outside your comfort zone. It’s the best way to prove to yourself that you CAN do things you thought you couldn’t, like be a good talker! I used to be nervous to talk on the phone with strangers (and I mean to the point where I wouldn’t order pizza over the phone), but after one of my internships required me to call people over the phone asking for donations, my fear vanished. Sounds like you’ve met some interesting people along the way. I bet by the end of your internship you’ll be the “best talker” of them all. I can see how your internship can come in handy during networking too! All that small talk and getting to know people over the phone will make it that much easier in person.

  10. That’s awesome that you were able to pick up those important skills so fast in your internship and also that your supervisors are all ready trusting your judgement enough to where you get to make those important calls! Sounds like you really got the hang of things fast.
    It’s great that you are getting to work on your phone skills, especially since our generation is one known for preferring email and texting. I personally am way more likely to shoot some one an email rather than actually pick up the phone unless its completely necessary. I’m sure all these phone calls at your internship will get you past that for sure.
    Good Luck!

  11. asharonson says:

    It sounds like you are in an amazing internship. For your station to allow you to client face in the first week means that they think highly of you. It can be very intimidating, especially when you are speaking to them on the spot. Luckily, we are still interns 🙂 It’s sounds like you’re doing great. Keep up on the good work!

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