Despite stepping into my PR career a year ago, for a reason we all know, recently I had the experience of my first ever in person client meeting. PRO have worked with the client since 2020, but none of us had ever met in person, as we had been communicating over Zoom the entire time.
After dealing with the cancellation of our planned year-end review in-person meeting, there had been a significant build-up and anticipation towards this meeting. We arrived at the client’s offices and it was clear that everyone was happy to meet in person and connect!
Although we were catching up on regular calls and able to keep each other updated with progress, as soon as we connected in person, we realised that as great as Zoom had been it was no real replacement for in person connections; especially for those of us at the beginning of our careers. I never expected to be given the opportunity to meet clients in person at the AE level, but PRO have been incredibly encouraging and understand how much you can learn from these experiences.
The ease of the technology is undeniable- without online conference calls our ability to survive the pandemic would have undoubtedly been challenged. But even outside of social distancing, the capacity to have a quick video catch up without leaving the office or do an entire PR campaign for a client overseas, such as our recent fund launch for a client in Switzerland, have all been made possible without travel.
Our client’s meeting room was buzzing as everyone was talking and connecting – as if meeting for the first time, which in a way we were, getting to know each other IRL. The ideas slowly started to flow, first a tentative trickle, then a flood. There was just something about being together in that environment which encouraged people to share their ideas in a way that was not happening so easily over zoom.
This is not the only example. We recently connected with an exciting materials company in Cambridge, and their innovative technology promises to be very special. It was a very novel experience for me to travel for the kick off meeting – an experience which would not have been the same for us over zoom. We were given white lab coats to wear on our tour of the production site and shown round the various rooms that were involved in the production process. Whilst this could undoubtedly have been conducted over zoom, it would not have been nearly as fun.
We are involved in a variety of projects – PR, PA, crisis and more. It is easy to really feel passionate and become involved in the projects we deal with, but sometimes this can be hard to convey virtually, and we have really missed the opportunity to connect in-person with our clients. Having joined in the middle of the pandemic, it is great to finally have the opportunity to connect in person and to adapt from the virtual experience I have had so far. It has provided a completely different perspective and it has been great to watch the experienced PRO team in action.
It has been so great to walk away from a variety of in-person meetings, with stronger connections, full of new ideas that are all the result of connecting in real life. Communicating is a human thing to do and we are glad to bring the human aspect back to PR.