Having just received a meeting request in my blackberry, I thought I'd talk about the different meetings you may find yourself in in the multimedia business:
1. The all important kick-off meeting.
When you get a new project, the first order of business should be a kickoff meeting. You may have already defined the scope of work, or SOW (aka, statement of work) but you are well advised to get all interested parties together, either by phone or in person (or by Skype or Cisco Telepresence Suite (according to 24
, these are commonplace)) as you want to make sure the known scope = the actual scope. This is also a good time to define roles and responsibilities, timelines and any details that you or your clients need to know.
2. The also important sales call.
Really these first two items are reversed as you need a sale to have a kickoff. Occasionally the two meetings are the same. You may have a client under retainer, and you periodically have a meeting to start a new project or a new phase of something already in progress.
But if this is the initial sales pitch, this is your chance to learn about the client's products and services, try to find out their current marketing strategy, and come up with your creative pitch on the fly, or if you have done your homework, you already know what you are going to say. But if the client has some new top secret world domination plan in the works, you may go in cold.
Next you may be asked for a price. For custom work, you need a custom bid. Tell them you can have a proposal later that day or in the morning. Assuming they like what they see, proceed to step 1.
3. The "hey, come on down for no particular reason" meeting
If this is an existing client, you should know what it is about, what it could be about or if you have no idea, you can assume it is to talk about new opportunities or worst case scenario talk about a project once it is finished.
4. Internal meeting 1 - staff meeting
These should be limited in time and scope to one important issue and have an agenda.
5. Internal meeting - business planning or brainstorming
Important - try to find a time that is convenient for everyone and rather than going on all day, a few shorter meetings may be better.
6. Internal project meeting - this could be an internal project kickoff, or an on-going project status update, or a combination of the above. In any case, stick to the agenda and keep it as short as possible.
In general, a meeting should have a clear purpose. You should know who is involved and what the goal is. If you get invited to one and you think it could be accomplished by phone, say so in a tactful way. It of course helps, as in any situation, to know your client. Some folks say "let's have a meeting" you know it is something that can't be done on the phone, or maybe it can. Not sure if I said this already...know your client.
Thanks for meeting.