Designer Diaries – Episode 9: The Day I Cried At A Meeting
Well guys, it happened.
I cried at a client meeting…in front of a client.
I know what you are thinking… How unprofessional?! Why would she do that?! Isn’t her job like just decorating and having fun?
It ain’t all sunshine and roses. Especially not on that day.
I will set the scene for you:
I met with a client that needed help with some kitchen floor plans. She already had an idea of what she wanted and there were some “must-haves” on the list. She seemed like a very nice lady, but had a lot on her plate and was very stressed. We left the initial meeting thinking we were on the same page, and away I went to start designing.
>> thinking is the main word here <<
Fast forward to a month later where I show up drawings in hand to the meeting.
My client is frazzled and stressed from the work day she has had. I can understand that. I ask her if this is still a good time. “Yes”, she says, “I need the distraction.”
OK great. So away I go at explaining my design and concepts. Immediately, she was not pleased. “I could have thought of this.” “I didn’t want that there.” “This is not working.”
As I continued to explain my reasoning, I could tell she was not having it. This was the first pass at the design, and I always expect to make a couple tweaks before it becomes final. Even explaining this did not help.
I walked into the other room and began to collect my bag. I felt that I had just struck out and could not help this client. I started to feel tears rolling down my eyes when my client asks, “What’s wrong?”
That is the moment that I broke down and cried at a client meeting, in front of a client.
I told her that I had never experienced being this disconnected with a client before and that I just needed a moment to figure out what was going on. I told her that my goal is to always make my client happy, no matter how many revisions it takes.
Seeing me cry actually calmed her down and she began to apologize. She told me about the bad things that happened at work, and that her mind was just everywhere and not focused.
As we sat there for another half an hour talking, we were able to come up with a design for the kitchen that worked for both of us. We hugged before I left and felt that that moment reminded both of us that it is OK to be human and express your feelings.