The focus is on preparation, ensuring relevance for the recipient, and making a great sell. Here are a few top tips. Never just read the press release! Make sure you have a story.Take time to have researched if this story is relevant to the particular journalist you wish to engage. This must add value for them and to them. Explain what’s in it for them – e.g. ‘I’ve got a story you might like’; talk conversationally, not artificially and leave out brochure speak and corporate puff.Plan what you are going to say before you do anything – write the story, work out your ‘sell’ (the first para).Get your thinking straight – try to think about all the questions, a journalist might ask not covered by the release.Establish the ‘contract’ at the start of the call: – Are you free to speak right now? – Establish whether this is a business, social, research call? – Say how long it might take? – Does the journalist need something in front of him/her to refer to?‘Speak with a smile’ – this gives your voice a more welcoming tone.Pay particular attention to your words. People pick up the messages between the lines by the way you say things. And listen for clues about what they’re really saying by reading between the lines of their words.Make your language visual and concrete and about real people – tell the story of your case history first to capture the attention and interest of the journalistTry standing up to make important calls – this gives you more power and confidence - you are taking this seriously!Sit up straight so your voice is not constrained.Get the story to them and call them to make sure they have received it – but do not harass or say ‘when will you be using it?Support stories with great visuals – tell them about any picture opportunities or video you can offer – or, even better, ask what they would like.’ – remember, the final decision does not rest with them alone.Every journalist and/or publication is different and has different focus areas and/or preferences. Do not take a blanket approach - it is impersonal and hurts the potential impact. Good luck!