Is email killing the working lunch?

A couple of weeks ago, the PRIA took me and the other members who volunteer on our NSW Council and Committees out to a lovely lunch to thank us for our time and energy over the past year. It was a great event (and a great lunch) and I spent time really getting to know people I had seen in passing over the year.

I was fortunate enough to be able to stay for a few hours and that got me thinking about when I started in PR and used to go for a working lunch at least once a week with my boss (to a very nice pub in Chelsea, London, but that’s another story).

The point is, those were very productive lunches. We talked about multiple clients, agency strategy, team challenges, the economy – there was no set agenda as there would have been if we had held a meeting back at the office for a particular client or topic. So our minds were more open to new ideas (or maybe that was the wine?) and more creative – we came up with some great ideas that won hearts and minds (and that was just back at the office). Oh, and there were no mobile phones. No email on our smartphones. No interruptions to the brainstorming and creative conversations.

And today? Well, I’ve had a few working lunches this year, but can count them on one hand and I think all of them were interrupted by either my phone or my guest’s ringing or being checked for emails.

So, this coming month try and have a working lunch with a colleague or client and leave your phone at the office. You’ll thank me for it (well, maybe after the third or fourth time, once you’ve got used to the idea of actually concentrating on one thing for more than an hour without interruptions!). Good Luck.

This is a message from Ben Findlay, the President of the PRIA's NSW Division.

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