It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. Yet as the end of 2017 creeps nearer, and work days are increasingly replaced by indulgent staff parties and lavish lunches, the only wonder I have is whether I’ve got things all wrong. Should I in fact be sinking expensive canapés rather than pulling all-nighters? Has the year actually ended already and nobody told me?
At a meeting the other day, a client rather surprisingly asked me when I would be taking them out for lunch. Now my first response to this (in my head, naturally) was that if I had any time in amongst their dubious deadlines, I might indeed have the luxury of a spare afternoon to chew the fat.
Yet, as said client departed arm-in-arm with members of a partner agency en route to rack up a whopping lunch bill on the company tab, I realised that maybe I was the fool. Maybe results don’t mean as much as relationships when all is said and done?
Now it’s always been my approach to keep a low profile and let the results speak for themselves. After all, actually talking to people can be exhausting. Yet while I ferret away in the corner, slaving over a misplaced comma or poorly executed design, others are using this time for its intended purpose, lathering on the charm and playing politics to get those new year budgets upped.
The thing is, a client in a casual setting is a beast that can be far more easily tamed. Over a languid lunch, everyone is somehow rendered equal, the balance of power neutralised, and all of a sudden you’ve moved on from ‘Kind Regards’ to xxx-ing and emoji usage. And while it probably shouldn’t make a difference whether or not you and your client are besties, the bottom line is that it does, and the fact that you’ve swapped pictures of your pets is probably going to count in your favour when a rival comes knocking on the door.
We are simply folk, us humans. At the end of the day, all we really want is a free meal. So as we move into a new year, my resolution is to carve out time to proffer up costless calories to all and sundry. Hell, I will be the soup kitchen of the business world. If lunch is what you want, then lunch you shall get. But it’ll have to be a quick one…I’ve got work to do.