Nov 16, 2011 0 Share

Pleasant Accommodations


Close-up of microphone in recording studio, disc jockey at desk.
iStockphoto

It was 8:50 a.m. I'd just dropped off Emily at the station and gotten back to my office. An email had just landed in my Inbox, asking me to appear on a radio show—that very same afternoon. Apparently someone had cancelled at the last minute. 

This was the first time I'd heard from the producers directly. Over a month before, they'd sent out a call for possible guests and I'd responded. After a short while had passed, I'd figured they were going with someone else. Now they were calling me back. 

Morning has never been my best time of day to respond to people. And as an Aspie, I've never enjoyed improvising on short notice. Thing is, if I didn't respond quickly they'd call on someone else. 

So, at 8:52 I replied, saying yes and among other things asking what number I should call. 

The guest booker's response: “The producer will call you at a number that's good for you.” 

Hmmm. 

Tug o' War's never been one of my favorite games. But you wouldn't know that by how often I've played it. (Once even with a rope!) 

I like making calls more than receiving them so I can ready myself and be “in the moment.” Also, I tend to pace around, and certain spots in my office get much better reception than others. Sitting around waiting for a call, especially one that I need to take rather than let go to voicemail, is not my cup of tea. 

One thing I've come to realize over the years: Sometimes complying with my wishes isn't exactly other folks' cups of tea either. 

More specifically, radio shows, like other group activities, tend to have their own ways of doing things. That tends to include their placing the call to the guest. Given how time is money and that the last thing they want is dead air, they may not want to risk a guest forgetting to call in at exactly the time they need him to. 

Worse still, they themselves may not know in advance at exactly what time they want the guest on. Maybe some breaking news will occur, or the interview before mine could run long or short. 

So flexibility is the key. And also, people tend to like it when you give a reason for your request especially if it's one they may not completely like. 

Thus I responded: “Would it be possible for me to call in? That way I can make sure to stand in a spot that gets the best reception.” 

The guest booker replied with the studio number, and also said: “That should work (though he's pretty particular about calling). Could we get a back-up, just in case?" 

OK. They're willing to work with me.

On the other hand, note “should work”—as distinct from “Will work” or “No problem.” Also note the remark in parentheses. In other words, yes they'll give me the number and let me call in, but they'd seriously prefer to do the initial calling if at all possible. 

So yes, I can still get the interview, as long as I give them a back-up number they can call just in case I forget. And unless they're satisfied that I really needed that accommodation, I may never hear from them again. Which may not be so good, because this is a nationally-known show. 

We need good relationships, not one-shot deals. So I decided that this time, helping them out a bit would be best. I responded: “My humble apologies—if he's particular about calling he can call me at ... If I don't hear from him by five minutes after show time I'll call the number you gave.” 

The results? The guest booker thanked me effusively, and the producer made sure to call me on time. We had a great time with the interview, and both hosts have been glad to keep in touch with me afterwards. 

Bottom line: Accommodations go both ways—if you want a good life, that is.