Outreach Tactic: Phone Calls

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
Locked
User avatar
cchiego
Yuna
Posts: 830
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:14 pm
Contact:

Outreach Tactic: Phone Calls

Post by cchiego »

Last week, I tried a different approach to getting in touch with coaches of teams who didn't normally come to our tournaments: phone calls. Though the sample size was small, I'm encouraged by the results thus far which yielded a few registrations and useful information on why some teams weren't attending. Some benefits:

1. Phone extensions for teachers are surprisingly easy to find. In many cases, even easier than emails. If you want to be really clever and match up the timing of your phone call with the teacher's planning period, check the bell schedule and see if they have their planning period listed. I've found, however, that right after school gets out seems to be more effective. Note that I haven't yet tried out cold-calling schools without any kind of academic team though, so targeting principals may be a different game.

2. Emailed tournament invites have a nasty tendency to get caught in the spam filter or deleted before getting read, so phone calls are also a good way to get confirmation that they're getting (or not getting) your emails. I've gotten the best results thus far from "Occasional" schools that may have attended a tournament the year or two before, but aren't regulars on the quizbowl circuit and don't keep track of things in the forums. It's also just much easier to delete an email than to tell an actual human that you're not going to send a team to an awesome pyramidal tournament.

3. It's easier to discuss pyramidal questions since you can gauge their reaction and offer counter-arguments rather than a wall of didactic text; nothing wrong with those, but they're probably not as effective at convincing.

Any coaches on here have preferences or advice about phone calls? I'd only do this once a year per school and always during planning or after school. I think Fred mentioned once that he's tried this before and gotten good results. Anyone else have reports to share?
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
http://gpqb.wordpress.com

David Riley
Auron
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:27 am
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Re: Outreach Tactic: Phone Calls

Post by David Riley »

When contacting principals, I would definitely recommend phone calls rather than emails, and certainly rather than formal snail mail, which has a tendency to get buried on the principal's desk. Another idea is to find the name of and contact the activities director, if there is one.
David Riley
Coach Emeritus, Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Illinois, 1993-2010
Steering Committee, IHSSBCA, 1996 -
Member, PACE, 2012 -

"This is 1183, of course we're barbarians" -- Eleanor of Aquitaine in "The Lion in Winter"

Coldblueberry
Lulu
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:35 pm

Re: Outreach Tactic: Phone Calls

Post by Coldblueberry »

Can we write some sort of elevator pitch for pyramidal quizbowl? I don't want my lack of eloquence on a particular day to turn off a coach who may want to attend...
Justin
Torrey Pines '12
Princeton '16

User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15440
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: Outreach Tactic: Phone Calls

Post by AKKOLADE »

"It's like Jeopardy! for teams of four high schoolers, only the questions are slightly longer to reward deeper knowledge. There are questions on a variety of subjects, including literature, history, science, social sciences, the arts, and even a little popular culture."

Something along those lines should work just fine.
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Outreach Tactic: Phone Calls

Post by Matt Weiner »

Fred wrote:"It's like Jeopardy! for teams of four high schoolers, only the questions are slightly longer to reward deeper knowledge. There are questions on a variety of subjects, including literature, history, science, social sciences, the arts, and even a little popular culture."

Something along those lines should work just fine.
I think he may be looking for something that speaks specifically to the benefits of real v. fake quizbowl.

E.g.: "By using pyramidal tossups and progressive-difficulty bonuses, we can write on topics that are important in the high school context and accessible to the lower teams, while still distinguishing in a meaningful way between the top teams. That way everyone can play an enjoyable game on one set of questions, and the winner is the team who knows more about academic things, rather than the people who can press buttons quicker."
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
cchiego
Yuna
Posts: 830
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:14 pm
Contact:

Re: Outreach Tactic: Phone Calls

Post by cchiego »

Matt Weiner wrote:E.g.: "By using pyramidal tossups and progressive-difficulty bonuses, we can write on topics that are important in the high school context and accessible to the lower teams, while still distinguishing in a meaningful way between the top teams. That way everyone can play an enjoyable game on one set of questions, and the winner is the team who knows more about academic things, rather than the people who can press buttons quicker."
This. I recall a discussion with some Academic League officials when they said they could never dare ask those terrible pyramidal questions because the one-liners they were asking weren't being answered. I then shared with them the TU conversion data from our novice tournaments and it was significantly higher than that for all the combined taped Academic League matches I saw. Also, you can point out that Academic League features verbatim question repeats.

Few teams seem to really care about the "national championship qualifier" aspect, so focus more on the "better academic experience" thing. Watch out for the minefield of mathcomp though, especially if the sponsor is a math teacher, and have a ready response to that objection too.
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
http://gpqb.wordpress.com

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Outreach Tactic: Phone Calls

Post by Matt Weiner »

cchiego wrote:Few teams seem to really care about the "national championship qualifier" aspect, so focus more on the "better academic experience" thing. Watch out for the minefield of mathcomp though, especially if the sponsor is a math teacher, and have a ready response to that objection too.
"The vast majority of people in quizbowl who teach math in high school or study it in college agree that computational math tossups are not conducive to math understanding because they reduce to speed contests on elementary school-level arithmetic. When computational math is replaced with conceptual math, math students enjoy the questions more and we can discuss concepts that actually correspond to higher-level math education."
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

Locked