Is this any way to treat someone? (1 of 2)

I had a most interesting experience last week. I was treated like a lost dog.

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any amount of time you would know that last year I wrote a book “What do Accounting Clients Really Want?” published by Thomson Reuters. Since the book has come out I’ve presented to many accounting firms the salient points of the book as a way of getting the word out and promoting the book.

What I usually do is send the managing partner of an accounting firm a copy of the book along with an offer to present to the partners & selected staff followed by a q & a session completely free of charge. Nice and simple.

Well, I presented to a top 25 accounting firm last week that was one of the most telling speaking experiences of my entire career.

Here is how it all unfolded.

I was to present at a lunch time meeting of the partners of the firm set down for 1.00pm. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to set up my laptop and check that all the connections and my slideshow is working properly. So I asked this firm if I could have access to the meeting room at 12.30pm – this would give me a full 30 minutes to set up and not eat into the partners precious time in the meeting itself.

I arrived at the firm just before 12.30pm, spoke to the receptionist and was given access to the room along with the one the firm’s IT team to help connect my laptop to their in- house data projector. Great! Fantastic! Everything was going fine.

About 10 minutes into my setup I was asked to leave the room because it had been double-booked by one of the partners for an internal meeting. Hmm – not real good. I was confident everything would work fine so I left the room and waited outside as requested. Funny … I booked the set up time over a week before the meeting and was told it would be fine. This was dog moment No.1.

For most of the time I waited I was standing in a short hallway that led to the meeting room I waited there for about 15 minutes. About 8 people walked past me and not one person asked if I needed help or even who I was. This was dog moment No.2.

Just before 1pm I knocked on the door and asked if I could come in and finish setting up my equipment. I was told in rather short language to do it and got busy to make sure the presentation was working which only (thankfully) took about 3 minutes.

I then turned from the screen and laptop and faced the long boardroom table as people were speaking amongst themselves, checking their mobiles and reading papers. I stood there for 5 minutes. Everyone could see me and not one person introduced themselves let alone ask who I was. 5 minutes. Count to 300. That is a long, long time for someone to stand in front of a group of say 12 people and not one person acknowledge my presence. These are not just 12 random people from the street – they are 12 educated, experienced professionals who aim at helping individuals and businesses grow and prosper. This was dog moment no.3.

It may sound a little self serving but I could have been anyone – what if I was a client or key strategic supplier to the firm? Man alive – it is not a good look.

Ironically, the chap who invited me to speak was half an hour late to the meeting he arranged! Although to be fair he did apologise afterwards for his lateness.

Read the next post to find out what happened in the meeting!

See you next time.

James E.