Apr 2, 2008

Ma ma Meetingssss

Like it or not, odds are that unless you work in accounting or traffic, you will have to meet up with clients. Be it creative, account services or media planners (though sometimes buyers get invited to shadow or to actually contribute), you will have to sit in a big ole table and act like you give a shit. You will need to also smile or at least you should because I’ve had the pleasure of working with cock knocks that are so charming that they have a permanent scowl embedded on the poor excuse of tissue paper they have for a face (that analogy is used in this case because the person in question has their mouth constantly pursed like some little constipated asshole). What you need to realize in this inevitable situation though is that there are a wide variety of characters, behaviors and tacit processes you can get a crack out of if you also happen to like watching flies fuck. Then again, at the very least you can understand a presentation better and you know who to focus attention on or who you have to convince more fully so a concept, a budget, a media plan or anything is sold to the client.

In the general sense of the meeting there are a variety of players and here’s a heads up of some of the characters you will find. Some you might recognize, some might seem foreign. If the second is your case, take a long hard look in the mirror, it just might be you.


In every type of scenario there can be the positive reinforcing impresario of the likes few people have truly seen. If you’re having trouble pinpointing exactly what I’m referring to, lets break it down to the brutal honest sense of what a 'nodder' is. If you know what a “yes-man (person)” is then you know what a nodder is. You can basically be discussing how best to solve a situation and if the person that is the decision maker (AKA THEIR BOSS) has something to say, they’ll agree to anything that person says. They could detail the attack plan to rape 79 toddlers with rusty appliances while spoon feeding a pitbull sautéed ovarian cists and they’ll simply acknowledge anything the person in question is saying because they know better, especially if they sign the nodder’s pay checks. Feel free to look at this person so he or she doesn’t feel left out, but trust me on this, they’re not the ones you have to convince about anything, including that you have a brain or even a pulse. They'll just look for reassurance from the real person you have to direct your attention to.


These are the people that want to make the decisions but are one or two rungs below in the decision making things of life in their little shithole company. These people are pretty much those responsible for sharing opinions that have other people in the meeting at the point of hissing at them because since they feel like they need to assert themselves, they blurt the first thing that comes out of their mouths and you know that often times it's quotable text, but nothing remotely demonstrating that these people are capable of any real analytical thought processes or even basic motor skills for that matter. It's the type of person that when asked if they like basketball reply by saying "yeahh.... did you see that Koli Bremnant do that touchdown in sudden death? THAT WAS AWESOME". It's the type of person that brings weird Ross Perot analogies to the table and leaves everyone not only asking what was the point but what poor contaminated test tube ended up pouring itself into an unsuspecting womb to produce, well them. Nod once in a while but don't bash them, they won't need help in getting fired and why get your hands dirty when they'll happily jump in shit by themselves.

Straticians AKA (Strategic magicians):

In every meeting there always seems to be a guy or gal who can come up with rationales out of thin air or pull them out of their ass, whichever is flashier. I'm talking heavy duty rationales that will pretty much cover all bases or at least convince the client into doing whatever he wants to justify. Keep this card handy since you might need to look over to your right for a mulligan and this guy or gal has your back since not everyone in a meeting is a total douche bag even though in essence a meeting is a marketing circle jerk in the search of larger profit margins. If they happen to be on the client side, think of every side of the issue and any potential chink that can be in the armor because they will notice and punish you for being ill prepared. I've literally heard one of these types look onto a bumbling AE and tell them : " You know what? You look so much better when you're silent."... Don't get caught off base, don't get caught with your hand in your pants, and make sure to sharpen your fangs, intimidation is always an accepted method of selling a concept though these fuckers aren't likely to be intimidated.

Tinkety tinkers:

Ok, so you're in a meeting. Look around. Who's paying more attention to the ejaculations of a pen on idle paper than on what's being said from one side of the meeting battle to the other? That's a tinker. A.D.D. incarnate and two steps away from slobbering themselves but not necessarily because they are without thought patterns. No, these people are probably smarter than you think, they just don't give a shit and they've realized how underachieving they have become. If you don't believe they're worthwhile, give them a shot, they'll seem to be drifting off somewhere in between andromeda, Ursa Minor and Orion's testicle only to suddenly come up with either a great idea or something that will actually seal the deal. If they're on the client side, speak to them occasionaly so as to touch base in case they have something good to share. Otherwise, pass them some chips or other nutritioius brain food and don't bother them. They might also benefit from a 30 minute nap recess.


Though it is not always to be seen, many meetings have people who are pro agency and sometimes they are client-side and these are key tools you should use but never abuse. Here's the thing, if you always appeal to this person or look to them for help, it'll create friction between them and the people that take the decisions or want to influence on them and that's never a good thing. Think of it in terms of any sport or game, if you use the same play each and every time, the client will read you with greater ease and more than likely look to complicate things for you a hell of a lot more than you'd like to.

Cock of the walk:

Chest puffed full of pride? Check. Expensive wrist watch on display? Check. Male or female, these are the people that make the decisions. Some hesitate at times, others are full blown Pattons, but the final decision more than likely rests on their shoulders. If they do their job correctly, it's not an easy one. If they delegate and blame anyone but themselves, they shall forever tell people how hard their position is and that no one can understand what they go through and the pressures and... wahhh wahhh wahhckety wah... Right. I'm not referring to these whiny bitch types that not only cry over spilt milk but wet themselves, I'm referring to the ones that work and weren't handed the position by mommy or daddy dearest. Is there ego involved? Well of course and yes sometimes you'll meet up with people who were employees of the month and have the Colgate smile ready to bamboozle people into buying their diagonal Feasant cooker because they're great at sales but not necessarily great at advertising even though these are the same people that take a napkin and draw the layout that should go. Yes, this is annoying as fuck but if you work hand in hand with these people, they'll let you rub their rubbard.

So there you have a couple of your typical meeting clowns, are there more? Then tell us about em.



Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Excellent post, Joker. For the list: I am most disconcerted by the Autistic. You know, the client who won't make eye contact, stares AWAY from the comp you're presenting, trains his attention on the doodle he's flourishing. Happily, there's seems to be no correlation between distractedness and response. In fact, I'm sometimes amazed how gungho clients can be for creative I thought they had missed entirely. But, still, inattention can throw you during a presentation.

RestrictionsApply said...

An off-shoot of the Nodders are the Supporting Actors. This is the person who says nothing during the meeting, but when the client or boss says anything with a hint or authority or decisiveness, he responds with things like "That's what I was thinking," or "I was just going to say that", or "You read my mind."

Anonymous said...

what about the useless one, that was just brought along to fill space or make the party look "intimidating". They are either too excited about being there or ... do nothing, say nothing and don't move. Which makes you forget they were ever there in the first place. They never seem to remember anything about the meeting either.

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