Look, meetings are in large part enormous waste of time, there's like a whole movement and everything around like killing meetings and not doing meetings, and we have a lot of meetings here for and like we struggle with the same thing. How do you make sure they're beneficial? How do you make sure you're not wasting people's time? How do you make sure your meeting couldn't have just been an email?
That is a frustration that I don't know that goes away because meetings are in a lot of ways necessary evil, especially as an influencer it's super important to get in front of the brand, be like this is me this is my face this is my personality, this is my vibe this is what I believe in. How do you make it valuable is like, it needs to have a point? I think you need to go into that meeting
Knowing what you want to get out of it and making sure that there is this temptation to just small talk for a while, let's say your 30-minute meeting, you small talk for 20 minutes of that. That's not super valuable for anyone.
If you're going to take 30 minutes of someone's life away, 30 minutes that they're never going to get back, even worse, if it's a full hour, you need to have a reason. You need to have a thing and then you have to get to the point at some point. You don't have to sit down and be like, “Okay, here's what I want.” Certainly you have to warm up to it. You always have to ask for the sale and the sale doesn't necessarily mean I have a project I want to pitch and I need money.
It can be; I want to be on your on Yale’s event list. It can be anything, but think about the point of the meeting and think about that is the sale. Make sure you implicitly ask for it and say, “I want this. I would love this. I want to do this. I'd love to talk about doing this.” You have to have a clear thing that when they leave the meeting, they understood why they had that meeting because you don't want to walk out and be like, “Why the hell did I do that?”
I meet with influencers as often as I can and sometimes they come in and they just talk, and they tell me about themselves, and I'm like, “That was completely worthless. I got to know you, which is great. There was just no point,” and I'm left now being like, “What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?” Because I met with you, you must have an expectation. I don't know what the expectation is, and I don't know how to fulfill that expectation. I don't know what I'm supposed to do.
If you leave the meeting being like, “I'd love introductions to your execution team, or I've been trying to work with these five brands and I don't know anyone there. I would love introductions there.” It's now on me to say no or yes, but at least I know what the hell you want from me. Then after the meeting, quick follow up. Try and do it in a couple hours if you can. Do it in the Uber or on the subway after the meeting, sit in the parking lot and write a draft.
I wouldn't send it two minutes after the meeting, but certainly within 24 hours you want to say, “Obviously great to meet you,” et cetera et cetera. You want to summarize what happened in the meeting so that they remember and there's a paper trail about it. Then you want to summarize what your asks were. If there was any action points where they said, “Yes, I'll definitely introduce you,” say like really “Looking forward to that. Thank you so much. Again, as a follow-up here are the brands that we talked about you introducing me to,” and let's live in that world.
Let's say we had a meeting and I said I would introduce you to five brands, and you just send an email, you're just like, “Thank you so much. It was great to meet with you.” One, again, I may forget, so you have to summarize what happened, summarize the ask and then go to the next step and be like think about what is that brand? Okay, if I have to introduce you to five people, then do you think it's easier if you give me a paragraph that explains what you do and who you are rather than me having to think that up and write it myself?
I would be like, “Thank you so much for agreeing to do this. This is such a huge help. I thought it might be helpful for me to just write a little blurb about who I am and what I do so that you don't have to write it.” Little things like that. You want to think about if a brand is doing something for you, how do you continue to make their life easier? We've talked about this when you're working in an activation with the brand about doing your own reporting and things like that that will make the brand person's life easier.
Same thing after a meeting, how do you start to do their job so that it feels like a really easy thing for them to check off the list after that meeting. That is super important. It's like sending that summary email, summarizing your asks and doing some of the work for them. Then as far as research before the meeting, research who you're talking to. Know if it's a junior person or a senior person, do a little digging about their background. You don't want to be unprepared and you don't want to be left.
Imagine you are talking about a brand and let's say you bash your brains like, “Oh, this brand I don't like what they're doing or whatever,” and you didn't see that on their LinkedIn, the person you’re meeting with was head of social there for the last three years. The thing you're bashing was actually their project. It's like little things like that that can ruin a relationship can be. You can skirt it one, by not being an asshole and bashing people meetings, but that's hard for me and I understand that could be hard for you.
Do your research and make sure you’re understanding who you're talking to so you don't get yourself into any trouble, and you can use it. “Oh I saw you into this college. I also went there. I saw you here. I was in that town. Once I drank with my friend there.” You need to try and build a personal relationship and a little bit of research can help do that. Not so much research that you're creeping on them. They're like, “Oh gross.” You’re like, “You know way too much about me.”
There's a fine line there. I wouldn't go three years back on their Instagram, but I would peek at their LinkedIn, peek at their Instagram, see what their last couple photos are, did they get back from a trip recently? Just something to get the conversation going.
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