As a freelance writer, you will occasionally or frequently have meetings with clients. It is vital that these meetings are well planned and well run; otherwise both you and your clients will waste valuable time.
I’ve had hundreds of phone meetings and face-to-face meetings with freelance writing clients. I’ve learned the importance of following the crucial rules for effective meetings I discuss below.
There are 4 types of meetings: in-person, phone, Internet, and a hybrid of some combination of in-person, phone, and Internet.
(Note: this post focuses on meetings related to freelance writing or other work projects; however, the advice applies to all types of meetings. Either way, you need these meetings to be as productive as possible, whether it’s a large group or just you and one other person.)
Before the Meeting with Your Freelance Writing Client
- Confirm the times the meeting starts and ends.
- Confirm the meeting place.
- Confirm who is attending.
- Confirm the detailed agenda and schedule.
- Confirm who will be running the meeting.
Do all of this both at the time the meeting is originally set and also 24-48 hours before the meeting happens. If you are the chair, firmly request a response from all attendees that they will be there. If more than 2 weeks elapses from the time the meeting is originally set, give an additional reminder around 5 days before. If you are not the chair, encourage whoever is the chair to take these steps.
If a meeting does not have a clear agenda, a clear stop time, and firm commitments that the important people will attend, you will likely wind up wasting a lot of time, not achieving any major objectives, and having to set yet another meeting. If possible, refuse to attend such a meeting and explain your reasons why.
During the Meeting with Your Freelance Writing Client
- Establish camaraderie and a good atmosphere. You want everybody to get along and feel comfortable with each other to the highest degree possible.
- The meeting chair must ensure that the meeting covers all the agenda items adequately and in line with the meeting schedule.
- Attendees should practice good communication skills, including listening to others, being respectful of others’ opinions, and being diplomatic and succinct when speaking.
Important Results of the Meeting with Your Freelance Writing Client
- Who is responsible for what tasks.
- When the tasks will be finished.
- How attendees will coordinate tasks with each other.
- The time and place of the next meeting, with a tentative agenda that will be finalized later in light of the outcomes of the various tasks to be completed.
All of the above apply to telephone conference calls and Internet based meetings, with the additional caveat that you, or the meeting chair, must ensure that everyone has any needed telephone numbers or website addresses, along with pass codes.
How do you coordinate and handle meetings with your clients? Any specific tips to add? Horror stories to share?