I do not like meetings.

Well, I like to have meetings at the beginning of a project and at the end.  I like to meet with people before I work with them.

Once in production, however, too many meetings signify poor lines of communication.

If everyone is in their place and doing their job when they’re supposed, a well functioning production can speed along without two hour roadbumps once a week or even more frequently.

I once produced a project in which the client wanted to have meetings about the work we were supposed to be doing in lieu of the meeting.  She would then telephone on the hour for “updates”.  I made the mistake of humoring her, at the time I felt as though (since I was working for someone else) that appeasing the client’s mania was in the best interests of, and protecting my employer.

Over time, I’ve learned that the only way to assuage a nervous client is to produce the work.  Sometimes this means being aggressive with assurances.  While working on “The Buddha” with David Grubin we had a weekly time with him to review our work.  This was sensible and smart use of a “meeting”.  We had specific material to review, approve or revise.  In this instance, we accomplished more in a concentrated two hours than a typical weekly scheduled conference.

Towards the beginning of these meetings, though, David was edging towards that anxious for “updates” client.  Instead of appeasing him with more checkpoints and more tests, I told him squarely -This is a tight schedule, but we have it figured out.  We have it so well planned that even if we slide behind here, we can make it there.  And if you look we’re already pacing ahead in this phase so there may be even more time from that.  We can’t get too bogged down in the minutiae.  We can get this done.  You have to trust me when I say we will get all the work delivered.

After that he was less -outwardly- concerned about the schedule and we delivered a week ahead of projections.