I used to work with this nasty guy. Decent writer, but everyone hated him. He won’t go to meetings. He won’t join others to brainstorm. He won’t listen to reviews of his work. He won’t take the client’s call. He would squeeze up his face and sulk at his desk— I think he was going for mysterious or something. But it wasn’t working; everyone just hated him.
As artists, we all hate to do meetings. When you work in a big agency or something, and have to deal with many clients, meetings are the worst.
But you do meetings anyway. Why? Without meetings, no one will find new business. Without meetings, no one will understand what the customer wants. Without meetings, nobody gets paid.
Of course, I know that some clients abuse the meeting. They call unnecessary meetings. They waste your time because they like hearing the sound of their own voice. They make you travel across the city, burning energy and enthusiasm in traffic, for things they could have told you on the phone or by Skype. Some of them even call meetings about calling meetings, only to realise that, wait, we already discussed this.
But ultimately, meetings are about taking responsibility. By talking to the clients and being there for them, we are definitely helping. And that’s what it’s all about—helping, solving problems. Plus, it’s easier to be on the same page when we’re looking each other in the eye.
We just need to make the meetings smarter and more productive. For me, every meeting is an opportunity to blow someone’s mind. All I need is to know who will be at that meeting. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail. But every time I learn. Each meeting is a performance and the dancer can only get better.
If I stay in my preferred state of viscerally hating meetings and refuse to attend them, I’m just like any other jerk. And, news flash: all jerks are replaceable, no matter how talented they are.
Being attentive, humble, quick on the job, and understanding the needs of the person who pays the bills, makes a whole lot of difference.
This is what people remember. And when people remember, they make referrals. Referrals will pay your rent and, maybe, buy you a new car.
Please, don’t be a jerk.
As for my melancholic friend, he was removed from his position at the earliest opportunity the agency got. Now he works for himself. I wonder if he’s still sulking in his corner, if he’s still not taking his customers’ calls. That little jerk.