I sat in a meeting recently with way too many stakeholders. You know the kind: Forty percent of participants never utter a word, 18 percent didn’t do the homework but talk anyway. One person is trying to hold the whole thing together. Someone is low-key salty and subtweetish.

What does that leave? Forty percent? Those folks are either on the attack or on the defense or trying to bring balance back to the universe. Or currently being surprised by a load of questions that were not on the agenda.

What I love (really!) about these kinds of spaces — you can see what someone is made of. If they care. If they have comedic timing, or a gift for healthy redirection. Or if they’d toss you under the public transportation vehicle in order to save face. It’s a window into everyone’s true colors. And, it’s an opportunity to make your work better.

As an agency, if you’re invited to one of these spaces by a client, you likely will learn a few truths. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of these learning opportunities, and to be present with a notebook in-hand.

First, you’ll learn whether your client trusts you and they believe you are intelligent enough to represent them well. An invite to a meeting like this is more than the sum of its parts; we understand their implications for representing our clients to stakeholders, and the responsibility behind holding down the fort. It also gives us an invaluable window into the myriad of perspectives and opinions they encounter on a daily basis, which goes on to inform our decision making.

Second, you’ll learn whether your client is the kind who can and will take on the comedic, timing-centric, or deflection role in this setting. If they do, you can know for sure they are good people. The empathetic kind who care about others, understand the value of a well-balanced team, and are well-versed in what makes a productive dialogue. We are fortunate to work with a lot of these humans.

Third, it will become quite clear where we, as an agency, can help. It’s our job, after all, to make our clients’ jobs easier. These spaces add context and insight, which is, in the end, helpful.

Let’s face it, no one *loves* meetings. Over Zoom. With too many participants to count. But these environments can be a window to show you what hot-button issues your clients face, where the dynamics land, and which clients are, in the end, really good clients. Sign us up.