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What to do in client meetings ???

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by lblack, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. lblack

    lblack New Member

    I work with branding, design and visual identity, and consider myself a professional. In contrast to this I do not feel particularly professional and that I "practice what I preach", when I open my laptop in client meetings.
    Sharing menu bars, notifications and my desktop with clients and browsing folders for the right file, always leaves me feeling a little uncomfortable and not as professional as I would like to be.
    Is it just me??? Can anyone suggest an alternative or a workaround to this?
     
  2. berry

    berry Active Member

    I always when going to client meeting shove all my desktop files in a new folder and have an empty desktop apart from the client folder that I may want to access. I also use a second 'client' browser for clients that is clear of my working browser menus. I will pre-populate that bookmare menu with the appropraire links that I may need in that meeting.
    That way the meeting is only ever focused on that client and their needs and there are no skeletons on your computer visible. Preparation, clarity and instant access to resouces for a meeting is vital in order to make the clients attention and focus 100% on the job at hand with no distractions. It just like tidying up your house when a buyer is viewing - remove any distractions and show them what you and they really want to see.
     
    Rob Barrett likes this.
  3. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I don't do websites so it's a little different for me but the basics still apply....
    - use separate log in for work and 'personal' desktops or you could go the virtual desktop (spaces on mac) approach if you wanted.... don't forget to 'brand' your desktop with your logo etc
    - Assign a folder outside of the usual 'user' auto storage space and add a desktop shortcut to the folder before meetings... I move my storage folders onto a separate drive with backup on my desktop anyways so this makes sense to me for more generalised approach too.
    - You could make a custom webpage for your client so you load to that page in the browser first and it has all the required links etc to go from there...
     
  4. lblack

    lblack New Member

    Sounds like a lot of work to have to do prior to each client meeting.
    Thank for your input guys.

    The thing is that in my experience it is hard to plan client meetings. Suddenly they want to see something else, the conversation takes you in a different direction, or if you really listen to the client you realize you should be showing them something else.
    Basically it is hard just to stay in a Powerpoint or PDF, and it is when I then have to show them something different or more relevant, that I end up clicking around showing them my desktop, folders, menu bars, etc. Somehow it feels a little too "earthbound" and a bit personal and doesn't feel like I am giving them a slick professional experience.

    In others words, in would be nice to be able to stay in Powerpoint fullscreen and still being able to easily open any file on your computer and present it within the Powerpoint. If need be.

    Does this make any sense?
     
  5. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    What you say makes sense, but I'm not sure if that's the best approach to take. Out of curiosity, could you provide an example where the client wanted to see something other than what was on your presentation?
    What you could do is make a new user account for when you're dealing with clients, which will have all of the factory settings for browsers, desktop etc. What you could then do is to create a directory on your main windows account which contains all the relevant files for that client. If you then give your new windows 'client' account access to this folder then you can do what ever you want, on a blank account without any real hassle and you'll be able to provide that slick professional experience!
     
  6. berry

    berry Active Member

    mmmmmmm. First - It is not hard to plan a client meeting, it is dead easy in 4 simple stages -
    1. this is the objective,
    2. this is the solution,
    3.this is the strategy,
    4. any comments ( this is where the client comes in )
    In my experience meeting with clients should always be structured and delivered to the course that YOU want to take that meeting in. You should be in control of that meeting. If you are jumping around from one place to another then it is the client who is dictating what he wants to see and discuss. Therefore you are at the whim and mercy of the bouncing client. That is because you are not leading the meeting in a clear and structured way. If you are bouncing around from one thing to another in random ways then it is your planning and preparation that has come undone.
    Meetings should have an agenda, and you should prepare thouroghly to sell your concept or idea/strategy/design in a rational concise way that has a start middle and end.
    Designers should understand how to 'sell'. A good Account Manager's role is to sell a piece of work and get a conclusion and result at the end of the meeting.
    That needs structure, discipline and preparation. If you are not prepared then you have disaster.
    To me the issue is - how you keep the client on your track.
     
    robbydesigns likes this.
  7. lblack

    lblack New Member

    Well Berry, leading the client along a rigid presentation showing him what you want him to see, is one way. Another one is asking questions about their needs, their business, etc. and then show them whichever jobs and cases that are most relevant to their potential needs.
    And in regards to your other point: you go see an agency, show them examples of work. E.g. if you are a photographer, you show them car images, portraits, fashion, and nature. Then they say, "do you have examples of food images ...." My point being you can NEVER prepare for what clients might ask for. Unless maybe you show them 200 images of ALL categories or types of jobs you have never done, but that is not the right solution either, is it??
    I admit that my question is probably more relevant in regards to new bizz meetings, as opposed to presenting something specific to a client in regards to a project in progress.
     
  8. balders

    balders Member

    You could do an interactive PDF with some basic navigation. You can programme buttons in InDesign to do loads of very handy things with out much effort.
     
  9. berry

    berry Active Member

    There are 4 types of meetings:
    1. New Biz/First meeetings
    2. Presentation
    3. Progress
    3. Credentials
    The chestnut of 'asking questions about their needs and showing them relevevent work' should have been addressed and researched by you before the meeting. If you go in blind expecting to pull examples out of a bag at random than this is unprofessional and sloppy.
    You said in your first post that "I do not feel particularly professional and that I "practice what I preach", when I open my laptop in client meetings.
    THAT is the issue. You have identified a problem, but do not know what the solution is. Being in the business of Design and being in Business are two different things. Most problems are easy to solve if you go right back to the route of the issue.
    Maybe you should be more specific to the type of meeting you are experiencing issues with?
    ( Regarding Photographers - unless you are a Photographer - what has this example to with this/yor issue and the solving of it?)
    An another note if you do your homework and are knowledgable you can prepare for what questions a client may ask. It is your role to sell the concept or idea and therefore to have covered all the potential bases and tangent routes before the meeting.
    You mention 'slick professional experience' - that only come with preparation.
    I get the feeling that you are going in blind and unprepared and that you may think that the work needs no strategy or structure to sell. If that is the case then you will always be treated as supplier rather than integral to the businesses needs. I may be wrong, please correcr me. But I firmly believe in Leading not following
    Here is a blog post I did about Presentations and public speaking etc that me be useful to some people
    14 point to keep your presentation skills up to scratch
    http://www.love-digital.com/14-point-to-keep-your-presentation-skills-up-to-scratch/
     
    robbydesigns likes this.
  10. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah I'm with the others, I'm not sure how the 'order of the meeting goes' relates to the original issue of how your laptop looks when you see a client...
    Mind you what I said isn't really a lot of hard work... I sync up x folder between desktop and pc (can even automate this if I wanted), I log into laptop via a second login rather than my 'personal' one which is already set up, it's not something I need to do every time. A shortcut to the folder can be made in advance too. I have my browser set to clear history/cache etc so no risk of overlapping client info.
    Honestly the only thing I need to do 'each time' is change the files I take to a client....which you'd be doing anyways
    But....my meetings (when I need to see them) generally go something like this but I'm also working in a different area to Berry/squiddy etc
    First meeting is meet and greet, get more info via questions and/or seeing the item to be worked on. Try to get a feel for the look they're going for, either by getting them to supply examples or to point out styles they like based on imagery I have with me (a simple preset scene showing different materials, lighting etc). I'll explain the process of my work to them and how they'll be kept up to date etc. If they ask questions I'll answer them as we go but I always ask if they have any further questions at the end. Get them to sign paperwork saying yes go ahead etc.
    I don't often have the same process as berry with multiple meetings (pretty similar when I do though) as most of my cad work progress can be shown to the client via email (soon to be a website client area if I can get my head round it). Email also gives me a written record of what they say so covers me if they want to come back later on.
    I get a final 'signing off' before any finalised work is produced though.
    I'll also agree with Berry, it's worth spending an hour researching the company and what it sells/does before hand where you can, it makes life a lot easier when you're in the meeting, especially when a company has a description that covers multiple areas of work...
    A perfect example is part of my work - rendering, the first thought for most people I know is 'is that plastering'....
     
  11. berry

    berry Active Member

    A messy laptop shows a cluttered mind. If you are structured and diciplined from the off then its plain sailing.
    Would you wear a suit and put deoderant on if you didn't have a shower first? All you are doing is trying to mask body odour and all that happens in a pungent clash of odours.
     
  12. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I probably wasn't clear there Berry.... I meant the original question was about how you present your laptop in meetings, not how you present yourself or do the meeting....
     
  13. berry

    berry Active Member

    I think they are both bound together.
    I think the thread open a wider deeper issue when IBlack mentioned bouncing around between folder etc, and when clients wanted to see other areas.
    Maybe I'm seeing things that aren't there? But I've never been bounced around my desktop by a client before.
     
  14. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I haven't either but then I'm fairly organised when it comes to my pc's.... and that can so read wrong berry, some might actually want that to happen lol
     
  15. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Well that would certainly be one way to secure a contract..!
     
  16. lblack

    lblack New Member

    Thanks for the comments guys.
    Someone once mentioned something to me about a program that works as a customized/personalized interface that you can put on top of mac/pc. Lot simpler, displaying your brand and great for client meetings. Just don't remember the name. Does it ring a bell with anyone?
     
  17. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I think someone would have mentioned it by now if they had. Personally I think it would be easier to just follow one of the previous suggestions.
     
  18. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    well theres stuff like rainmeter/samurize but honestly a second login is much simpler.... unless you're using an ipad or an older android based slate in which case you'll need to do things differently.
     
  19. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Guest

    Just use the multiple desktop/login approach. It's really not that difficult to implement. Failing that, just clear all your caches and history details and then just run a specific client file from your desktop.

    Easy peasy!
     
  20. lblack

    lblack New Member

    Seems like this solution is what I have been looking for www.pinstriped. com You can design your own interface that hides all the crap. No cleaning up before each meeting :)
     

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