At PR News, we get pitches on a daily basis for communications experts to write for our publication, our web site or speak at our webinars or conferences. It’s usually a very pleasant process. But every now and then we get what we call the MIA speaker — he or she agrees to speak at our conference (even signs an agreement), we promote this speaker in all our marketing efforts and — let’s call this person MIA — MIA stops returning our calls or emails and at the 11th hour says s/he’ll definitely be there/no worries. In fact, the pattern is that for a very brief period (a half day), they are full engaged with us, feel bad and make lots of promises. And guess what — MIA doesn’t show at the show. And it’s not because of an emergency or any valid excuse — it’s just “sorry, can’t make it.”
This a rare occurrence but it sticks with me and my team and we have a very sour taste not only about that speaker but about the organization MIA represents. We are a forgiving crew here, but it’s hard to want to interview a representative from that company when one of their key execs, in the words of my teenage daughter, “disses” us. Of course, we get over it and welcome MIA’s “parents” back into the fold. But we never go back to MIA after this journalistic abuse. (We have our pride.) So next time you pitch a speaker or contributor to a media organization, be sure they’re on board with the assignment and understand that it’s more than their reputation that’s on the line.
That said, we’re opening the call for speakers at our Digital PR Summit in October in NY. Contact me if you’re interested and qualified. And not prone to be MIA.
— Diane Schwartz