5 tips to having an effective advertising meeting.

Advertising meetings for Broadway shows can be more dramatic than the shows the meetings are about.  And with the increasing number of producers, marketing personnel, and so on, attending, it’s getting hard finding a conference room to fit everyone, never mind actually getting some good work done!

At the same time, these meetings often make up the most important hour (or four hours) of your week, so you’ve got to figure out how to get the most out of them.

I’ve been in advertising meetings as both a Company Manager and a Producer and I picked up some great tips from advertising execs, fellow producers, and others on how to make sure your meeting runs smooth and helps keep your show running.

1.  Let someone lead.

Someone has got to sit at the head of table and take charge of the decision making process.  It can be the Lead Producer, it can be the Advertising Account Rep, it can even be a minute-taker . . . but someone has got to keep the meeting moving forward and make sure that decisions are made before anyone leaves the room.

2.  Set a time limit.

I wasn’t joking about the “four hour” meeting.  It can happen.  Don’t let it.  Set a maximum amount of time that you’re willing to set aside to meet.  I suggest no more than 60 minutes.  You can do it.  Just tell everyone to keep the quips and vacation chatter to a minimum and focus on the show at hand.

3.  Agenda-ize.

A ad meeting without an agenda is a like a Beauty without the Beast.  It can be brutally boring.  Set a structure for your 60 minutes and stick to it.  Always leave some time for “new business” at the end of each agenda to allow for a minimal amount of town-halling.

4.  Don’t eat.

It’s common that the agencies put out food for everyone.  Don’t eat it.  And I’d suggest banning it if you can.  Beverages are one thing, but an ad meeting isn’t a dinner buffet at the Golden Nugget.  You’ve got work to do, and who can stay focused while watching someone chomp on a ham sandwich.  It sets a different tone; a picnic type atmosphere.  And, since producing a Broadway, Off-Broadway, or any type of show is no picnic, your ad meeting shouldn’t feel like one.

5.  Minutemen.

Take minutes, and send them out to everyone within 3 hours of the end of the meeting summarizing the events, and specially calling out the action items decided on and who is responsible for each one.  These action items can be the beginning of the next week’s agenda, and it allows you to make everyone accountable for the tasks they signed up for.

Our business is a social one.  But honestly, sometimes I’m still shocked by how little actually goes on at these meetings, despite the fact that millions of dollars on the line.

But not when you’re leading them, right?  RIGHT?

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.