Friday, 11 September 2009

I want to SCREAM!

I have just had THE most frustrating client meeting of my life. It's a wonder everyone who was present is still alive and in one piece.

Do you know that feeling where you're so angry you start shaking? I had to grip my pen and pad really tightly to a) stop the client from noticing that explosion was imminent and b) stop my hands from grabbing him around his neck and shaking him until he turned blue.

I have met with the lady before (lovely dear that she is), let's call her Em. She set up this meeting to discuss the plans with her fellow head honcho and me today.

Em briefed me to rewrite the organisation's website copy and make recommendations as to how they could improve their "completely outdated and hideous" website (for example, stop using an off-red colour for all the text). She said the organisation has a web developer that can implement the changes and that she hates the site and wants to start by removing the sponsors names (they feature prominently on every page of the site and detract from the actual copy). I agree with her recommendation and add it to my list.

In preparation for today, I came up with homepage copy and some recommendations, which were to keep the site template pretty much the same but move certain elements (from the random right-hand navigation bar to the left one and get rid of the right-side nav bar to allow for more white space and less clutter (they currently have four navigation bars. Super confusing!).

I present this to her and Mr I-think-I'm-God at today's meeting. I can tell he's going to be difficult from the minute he walks in and starts crapping on me because the map to my offices (that everyone else has used without issue) is not to his liking.

He stops me about one-second into the conversation to tell me that I was contracted to write copy, not redesign their entire website. I calmly explain that I understand this and that I have not redesigned the site, but just made the recommendation of moving some elements to another place in the template. I have not suggested we delete pages, create new ones or scrap the whole site and start again. I also explain that part of my brief was to recommend how to improve the site's flow.

I try to continue.

He interrupts again, telling me I have "not fulfilled my mandate" and that I basically don't know what I'm doing... That my recommendations will mean they have to change their website. "Yes," I say. "I was told that you have someone who can do that who works for you." He tells me that they don't plan to demolish their site and start again. I once again explain that this will not be necessary - the site design will remain almost the same, with a few elements shifting from one side of the page to the other.

This conversation happens a total of seven times during the hour.

Em, who is also taking a bashing from Chief Moron, is trying to hold back tears. She keeps saying she's sorry she ever got involved with this project, that she washes her hands of it, that I must bill her for my time and that she's sorry to have wasted my time.

Poor dear.

He keeps telling her that he's not saying they shouldn't do this project, but that there are ways of doing it and that this is not the right one.

I think I came closest to losing it with him and smacking him on his bald, stupid head with his own teacup (especially seeing having requested tea, he ignored it and didn't touch it once) when he started telling me that he is in the business of web development and everyone knows that it's best to have all your company's information on the home page becuase people don't click on links on websites.

According to Dipstick, having a looooong homepage where people have to scroll for ages is far superior to having a short, uncluttered homepage with clear navigation options that will take people to the specific info they want without them having to spend years searching for it.

He also doesn't believe in having lots of webpages. When I said that the more pages you have, with quality content on them, the higher trawlers will rank you, he told me (patronisingly) that my point might be true, but only if you're interested in attracting people to your site who haven't been there before.

Uhhh... and you're not interested in that, Bright Spark?! That explains a lot.

Every time I tried to make a point or bring him back to letting me explain the copy I'd written, he told me "There's no need to get defensive about it, Tamara."

In the end, Poor Em apologised for the millionth time and closed the meeting by simply standing up to leave. I stood up too and Ego Maniac grudglingly halted his lecturing and finger-wagging(easiest way to piss me off) and left without even greeting me.

I would so like to hit something (well, a particular someone) right now. Thank goodness for blogging, hey?

And for Fridays.

Woosaaaa, Tamara. Wooosaaaaa...


Being Brazen said...

Hope your weekend is amazing!!

Sorry to hear about the annoying client.

Laura said...

Oh man I HATE meetings like that!!!! Unfortunately for me - even the arrogant ones - can see my feelings from my eyes which makes for FUN meetings!

Have a GREAT weekend

Damaria Senne said...

Oh my God! I cannot believe your client. he sounds like someone who doesn't even know what he doesn't know, and quite frankly, I don't see how their web site is ever going to get improved with him interfering that way.

Damaria Senne said...

@Laura - My feelings also show when I deal with the arrogant ones.

And I usually find that my schedule won't allow me to take on their project afterall, because I find that working with them really paralyzes me and I have a hard time drumming up the energy to do the work anyway.

It's hard to write copy when you know the client will trash it to prove a point rather than it being in te best interests of the project, and the final product will be nowhere near the best quality you can produce.

po said...

Tamara, poor you! I don't know how you can put up with that crap, I would have lost it and exploded a long time before. Talk about classic narcissistic boss type.

Anonymous said...


At least you remained professional. I think he just liked the sound of his own voice.

Gosh I would smack him.

Hayley said...

What an idiot....and its one thing to maybe think that what you are doing is not right....but to just be so damn rude about it...
Hope next week is better!

Anonymous said...

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angel said...

Ooooh a dipstick indeed! I'm fuming on your behalf here T!!

Spear said...

There is nothing worse than listening to someone completely unaware of their own idiocy.

Tamara said...

Brazen: Thanks and thanks ;-)

Laura: Hehehe... I couldn't look at him while he was lecturing me. I looked at the photo on the wall above his head.

Damaria: Yup - I have decided that working with them wouldn't be worth the stress and brain damage. I'd rather leave myself free to take on other projects that I can feel good about.

Po: He was like the archetype of a nasty headmaster.

Paula: Hehehe... it was very tempting to smack him.

Hayley: I know! It's never necessary to get so rude in a work situation. Really!

Paula: Thanks! Will pop over there shortly.

Angel: Thanks, hon. That somehow helps - to know that it's not just in my head.

Spear: You hit the nail on the head there.

Don't believe a word I write said...

Tamara, your description of your interaction with this client actually upset me. I can totally identify with your feelings of frustration, and there's a helplessness that such interactions spawn that is difficult to deal with. Well done for keeping your wits about you.