TO return to something we touched on here before – the ‘give me a shout in the office here next time you are up in town’ syndrome.
By ‘town’, we mean Dublin. So for the meeting to take place, you’ve got to: rise early, make your way to the smoke, by plane, train or automobile; navigate city traffic, adding further hours to your already long journey; find a suitable parking place adjacent to said office; and walk the last few metres.
In contrast, they have to: Sit at their desk, getting all their work done, closing deals and making money, until you arrive. For that one meeting, you could spend as much as 12 hours coming and going. They spend an hour. If time is money…
Plus there’s the cost of travel, food, the bag of sweets you really know you shouldn’t munch on, but do anyway, and sundry other items. If money is money…
And then there’s the pile of emails waiting to be dealt with when you get home. All round, the ‘give me a shout in the office here next time you are up in town’ syndrome is a bad deal for us west-of-the-Shannon dwellers.
It’s time to start the counter-movement, folks. Let’s draw them out. Recently I did what I call an airport day – and it worked a treat.
I told a number of contacts I would be in a hotel adjacent to Dublin Airport for the day, and asked if they would meet me there. Weaned, as they have been, on my making all the running (what did your mother tell you – let them chase you), they were initially a little perplexed.
But when I reminded them that I was still the one making the big journey (flying from the west), they dropped their protests. In the course of a long day at Dublin Airport, you can get through half a dozen meetings – and still be up and down in the one day.
Failing that, ask them to meet you halfway, as the saying goes – in Athlone, Longford, or some appropriate halfway point. Hear them squirm down the phone line. You will have just challenged their Dublin-centric view. The silence will linger. They may even move on as if they have misheard you and proceed with further plans for the ‘give me a shout’ arrangement. Don’t compromise. Don’t back down. Hang tough.
Unless you need them a whole pile more than they need you, you’ll find they will eventually relent. Time is money. You will be all the better for re-shaping the relationship. And you’ll eat less sweets too.
Liam Horan runs www.SliNuaCommunications.com , a communications consultancy based in Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, with a strategic partnership with Dublin-based Pembroke Communications.