Africans are naturally communal and they thrive, like the Italians, on close interactions. So, a face-to-face meeting (though gradually becoming less a business requirement) is one way, though traditional, of executing formal interactions and exchange. However, some service-oriented entrepreneurs may testify that some people who still request a physical meeting, before engaging their services, either wish to steal their ideas, listen to themselves sound smart or in some instance, physically access you (a conversation for another day). Now, I am unapologetic demanding a virtual meeting where my gut senses such intentions. So, if you do need my services, you should ideally respect my approach to interaction. No one questions a medical specialist who demands consultation by appointment; we conform and comply. So why does it seem improbable for the prospective client of a PR professional to do similar?
Fortunately, such situations are best examined on a case by case basis. Not all physical meetings nor clients requesting for such, have a hidden agenda. So, if it seems like there’s value in meeting a person, I’ll do it! Though my default and preferred approach are, ‘schedule a virtual meeting’. I’ve come to appreciate several differing opinions on this subject matter – face-to-face meetings. Some people regard themselves as a good judge of character, on seeing a person face to face.
Do not be afraid to have a meeting, physical or virtual. Seek clarity on the reason for your meetings, set your goals, and define your tactic for the conversation to be had. Also, determine what questions might you be willing to field, how you intend on responding to such queries and think through how best to respond, without offering up the secret sauce to keep them coming back.
Not all physical meetings nor clients requesting for such, have a hidden agenda. So, if it seems like there’s value in meeting a person, I’ll do it! Though my default and preferred approach are, ‘schedule a virtual meeting’.