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Choosing A Good Meeting Venue

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Choosing a good meeting venue

One colleague of mine told me once that, almost always, the critical factor in whether she assented to PR meeting requests was where they offered to take her. Propose a meeting in Soho’s trendy new izakaya, and she was in, regardless of your clients; suggest a staple, yawn-inducing venue like the Riding House Cafe or Colbert and you’d receive only a polite refusal.

Not every journalist will decide to say yay or nay on this basis, of course. Some will consider your clients; others are genuinely busy, not based in London (like me at present) or wholly opposed to such meetings, period.

Even so, I’d think suggesting a vogueish or appealing location might help — or even offering a blank canvas and letting the journalist choose (though this risks being a teeny bit expensive should they plump for Kitchen Table’s £300 tasting menu).

If it’s someone in-house, look into just-opened cafes, bars or restaurants within half a mile of their office. You’re then offering both convenience and cool. Coolness in general is a good look; far better to suggest that new doughnut den or buzz-gaining grilled cheese van than Colbert or a Dishoom (life-changing though those sausage naans are). For some freelancers, a meal is tempting simply for money-saving reasons, depressing as that is to say; for others, coffee addictions must be sated, but ideally somewhere unusual such as Omotesando.

These are all London places (with Eater’s various London lists and heatmaps a good place to research venues in the capital), but the same applies for those writers based in Bristol, Brighton, Cornwall elsewhere – though perhaps with more consideration of public transport.

Nor does it need to be food. While picking the wrong target audience – or perhaps just forgetting to edit the copy-and-paste – one PR recently suggested to me that we “get our nails done together”. Even if not for me, it’s a nice, inventive idea; although I do wonder how I’d take notes in that scenario?

What Richard Thinks…

“Liz Truss mightn’t have appreciated it, but this was really clever from Caroline — a simple, fun and inventive way to hook onto the major news of the time.”

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