Posts tagged ‘meetings’
As the fridge heaved last weekend with the extra-large-in-case-it-snows-alot supermarket shop, I was chatting to a family member about what our family motto could be. We came up with Never Knowingly Underprepared.
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As a family we all like lists, fully stocked cupboards, Plans of Action and Being Prepared. In my previous agency life my desk draw was like a cross between Boots and WhSmith and regularly saved the day by dispensing baby wipes, plasters, painkillers, staplers and spare umbrellas.
Admittedly, I was that irritating pitch team member who was ready to leave for the pitch ten minutes early, with directions, an agenda, background notes and an extension cable.
But in contrast, most of AdLand seems to live by the mantra Always Winging It and/or It’ll be right on the night. I’ve lost count of number of times I’ve sat in meetings where it quickly became apparent to everyone including the client that at least one of the agency team was winging it and hopelessly unprepared.
It’s such a waste of time and money. As an industry we spend an absolute fortune on New Business activity, from PR and networking to exorbitant awards entries and even advertising ourselves – then when we do get that coveted initial client meeting, we roll up unprepared.
Or if you’re looking at it from a ‘bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ point of view, sometimes we even rock up to meetings with clients we’re already working with and still try to blag it.
I know we’re all very busy. And I know that everyone isn’t like that. But it seems bonkers for anyone to go unprepared to even one meeting – it has just cost too much to get there.
PS I should point out that I’m not Superwoman. Before Christmas I got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to a new business meeting, got there 15 minutes late and promptly spilt coffee all over myself. Not surprisingly, I have yet to get any work from that client…
I was having lunch with a junior planner yesterday and she was telling me how thoroughly she prepares for client meetings and presentations, just for the extra bit of reassurance that she has every possible angle covered.
Which made me offer her the thought that the most important thing I’ve learned about meetings and presenting is that whatever you say, you have to say it with Confidence.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re sharing something you read in last week’s paper, quoting a percentage of prompted consumer awareness or simply offering your opinion – say it with confidence and people are more likely to believe you.
Albert Mehrabian’s research suggests that communication around feelings and attitudes are made up of 7% what you say, 38% how you say it and 55% from your facial expression and body language. Emitting verbal and non verbal confidence makes your message more likely to cut through.
This research doesn’t even take into account what you look like. It’s not just the whole shoulders back, smile, eye contact thing – you have to look and dress the part. The PSFK Rockstar Planner series of videos show just how many takes there are on what a Planner can look like (there isn’t a website called cool planner hair, dude for nothing) but they all use their appearance to make a confident statement about who they are.
I suppose it goes back to the slightly cheesy idea of Personal Branding. If you are confident about who you are and what you stand for – and you communicate that via your appearance – then other people might be more likely to buy in to what you are saying.
Yesterday’s client meeting went on a little longer than planned, resulting in a mad dash back down the A1. So I’m working on a formula to calculate what the actual length of any meeting might be:
Client at inter-agency client meeting:
“Thank you all for coming today, but there are quite a lot of you and its crowded, so can we just have one person per company and the rest of you can leave”.
Yes, it really happened. Can anyone top this?