With technology prevalent throughout the workplace, our team can communicate with the click of a button, a quick phone call, webinars, screen-shares…you get the drift. While all of this is convenient and allows for constant client communication, there tends to be themes, topics and a camaraderie that can only come from meeting face-to-face.

While the thought of an out-of-state strategy meeting can seem daunting at first, it is possible for both teams to leave with a sense of accomplishment, solidified list of deliverables and solutions for moving forward as a cohesive team. It just requires proper planning. Here are five steps for executing a successful client planning meeting:

  1. Establish primary contacts from each team. Planning meetings should be a collaborative process between the agency and the client, showcasing that everyone is in it together. Especially for out-of-town clients, it’s crucial to ensure equal team contributions.
  2. Create a thoughtful, time-sensitive agenda. It is important to have an outline to keep everyone on task, and helpful to share ahead of the meeting so everyone has their thoughts already mapped out. By following the timed topic allotments during the session, conversation can be streamlined to ensure time is efficiently spent and expectations are managed.  
  3. Set the tone. It’s very important to ensure an environment that is welcoming and encouraging of input. Communicate ideal tone with the client beforehand so that you all walk into the meeting feeling at ease with one another, using your established relationship as the focal point.
  4. Be prepared and think outside of the box. Demonstrate to clients a high interest and personal investment in their brand. Come prepared with items their team may not have had the bandwidth to research and/or put together.
  5. Use this opportunity to truly get to know one another. Sometimes we get into the groove of being so caught up in the “work” portion of our projects that we forget to sit back and enjoy the clients we’re glad to work with in the process. It’s amazing what an in-person meeting can do to shine light on someone’s sense of humor, mutual hobbies, etc.

Lauren is the brand manager for a long-time agency client spanning over 10 years. Trips to the brand’s out-of-state headquarters have become an annual ritual for guiding brand creative and ensuring overall strategy.