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

Following on from my last post here are just some of the things that happened in the meeting with said accounting firm.

I started the presentation. Just to remind you this was a presentation about their market so I would have thought they would have been somewhat interested. However, of the group of about 12 people, only 3 were paying attention. The other 9 were doing a combination of checking their Blackberrys, reading the notes for the next meeting & one guy even took a call!

My presentation style is very interactive and as such it depends on people listening to what is being said and of course making some effort on their part when asked to. At one point I asked one of the partners to tell me & the group what the term “proactive” means in the context of accountants working and communicating with their clients. Believe it or not, after a slight pause, he replied “I don’t know.” I (of course) don’t mind if people don’t know the answer to a question but what really disappointed me about this particular exchange is that he didn’t even try. When I asked him the question he was reading some notes for a meeting later that day; after he replied to my question, he went back to reading his notes.

A little later in the presentation I asked another partner about his thoughts regarding a section on accounting client expectations I had just finished outlining. He looked up from his sandwich and said “Sorry, I can’t answer that question … I wasn’t listening” Ironically a big part of the proceeding segment of the presentation was on the importance of listening!

The icing on the cake was the arrival of a 13th partner just over an hour late to the meeting. His excuse was that he thought the meeting was scheduled on daylight savings time since we had moved back to Eastern Standard time the day before. Hmmm … I don’t want to comment on what I was thinking at the time 🙂

I’m really sorry if the above sounds like a rant. I was just saddened that this one meeting almost typified so many things that people out there believe about accountants – dull, unengaged, conservative and unimaginative. In my experience over many years I’m glad to say that the opposite is true of the majority of accounting firms I have worked with and that I know 🙂

Until next time,

James E