There’s nothing quite like the client kickoff meeting in terms of your overall relationship with your client. It’s often the first time our entire team and the client’s entire team are getting in the room together. And in that meeting, it’s about much more than learning your client’s offerings or agreeing on strategies for the PR plan.
The kickoff meeting is where the collective first impression is developed; where we start to learn each other’s preferences, personalities and quirks. And unlike the new business pitch where we tell the prospect how good we are, the kickoff meeting is where we show them we’re great.
Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a kickoff meeting for our new client, Silanis. I say “privilege” because watching the team in action was very impressive. Here are a few best practices I gleaned from watching the team of Katelyn, Caitlyn and Kathryn (say that three times fast!) work:
- Prep is more than checking out a website – This team came in having read much more than web copy. They reviewed analyst reports, blog posts, competitor sites and data, industry articles and surveys. That prep prepared them so they had…
- No fear asking questions – When you are has prepared as possible, there is no doubt in your head that the question you want to ask might be wrong. These ladies knew their stuff and knew what to ask.
- Let your personality shine through – Our team is made up of very different personalities and no one held back from being themselves, which is important when building connections. The energy from both sides of the table became infectious. We walked out of the meeting feeling like the foundation to a positive and exciting partnership was solidly built.
- Have a plan, for the plan – While kickoff meetings are meant to be a brain dump of sorts, it is also when you are coaxing out the information, goals and pain points that will form your PR strategy. If the meeting isn’t framed correctly, you might actually miss out on the whole point. The team was clear on what we needed to extract from the meeting the whole way through in order to create a strategic plan.
Kudos again to the great team effort! What are your thoughts on kickoff best practices?