In this world we currently live in where we “meet” online so much, this week I had a powerful reminder of how a place can mark a moment.
First meetings and place
I like to start work with new clients by taking half a day with them in their home town, yet outside of their office at a place of their choice. Sometimes I’ve flown thousands of miles to do this, always making that investment in the client as I know the power of such meetings in such places.
First client meetings are about, through conversation, truly gaining an understanding of what the client seeks, over time, from our work together. They are often intensive and, even in a first meeting, can result in major awareness and realisations. Knowing this, there is power in marking those moments by association with the place where the conversation occurred, as this creates powerful anchors.
As I write this, my mind goes immediately to different cities, countries, coffee shops, restaurants, walks, parks and, yes, views. Think of this for yourself with friendships and all kinds of moments.
Can you remember where you first met and connected with your significant other or perhaps dear friends? Wow, as I write this, memories come flooding back!
So, this week I started work with a new client who also lives in London. I arranged to meet in a green space relatively close to where they live, asking them to pick a place they love. I then cycled up there, and yes, it was “up”. The view you see here is from that place. Stunning!
At the meeting, the client had several moments, one of them really major in terms of their own awareness and the business choices they will make going forwards. Now and for all time, that moment will forever be anchored by the place where it came to them.
Creating a sense of place even in our online world
I recognise the good fortune in being able to do this at a time when so much is on video only, yet, as I reflect, even before Covid-19 I’ve not always been able to jump on flights to have the first meeting with a client in-person, settling then for a video meeting where we both sit in our own offices. It works well too, but is missing that sense of place.
My learning from all of this then is that when I can’t meet a client in-person to begin, to find a way to mark the moment with place anyway.
Much though I love to use video when I can’t meet someone in person, my thinking right now is for the client to choose a place they love in the outdoors and meet there virtually by being on the phone.
Perhaps they may have an epiphany as they are sat on a bench looking out at a favourite view like the one from this week, so marking that moment with place.
Also published on Medium.