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How to win at client meetings

I am a web designer in real life.

And that means I have to talk to clients. Often.

So I go to a lot of meetings. And meetings are hard. You have to be sharp, look like the smartest person in the room and you have to keep smiling even if a client hates your design.

You need a secret weapon. And I happen to have a couple of those.

First, you need fabulous shoes. It is best if you have a drawer full of options in the office, this way, you can put on your take-no-prisoner shoes for one meeting and your this-girl-has-style shoes for the next.


Next, you need something to smile about when discussions get intense. Or for when you realize that the venti dirty hippie (soy chai with 3 shots) that you had on your way to the office has ceased fueling your brain. I like fun socks when I am wearing boots. And every time I think about my silly socks, I smile. gluten free socks

A fancy notebook and pen can make you look serious. And important. Despite your silly socks. Spiral notebooks are for teenagers and legal pads are for old people. Never underestimate the power of a good notebook. Ever.


Also, don’t be afraid to doodle. Science proves it helps you concentrate. My notebooks prove old doodles can be entertaining.


And if all else fails, feed them. Good food makes people happy. And the person who brought the treats is instantly the most popular person in the room. You will get bonus points if you made it. And double bonus points if it is something exciting. Like gluten-free cranberry gingerbread tea cakes. *

*n.b. if the client knows you write a food blog and you don’t ever bring a treat to a meeting, they will be very, very sad.

gluten free cranberry gingerbread tea cakes with an orange glaze

There is something about gingerbread that warms the soul.

Maybe it is only me. You see, I grew up with a photo of gingerbread men on my wall. My grandma always had gingersnaps in her cookie jar. It oozes warmth and comfort. A sense of delicious decadence.

Together, ginger and molasses make magic happen. And when they go on a double date with cranberry and orange.


Now, put those bad boys into a muffin tin (I used one with squares rather than circles). Glaze them. Call them tea cakes. Pretend that makes them breakfast food. Bring them to a 9am meeting with clients. Be the most popular person in the room. (And don’t tell them that they are gluten-free until after they have devoured half of them).


Gluten- Free Cranberry Gingerbread Tea Cakes with Orange Glaze

Recipe Type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 18
These are adapted from Joy the Baker’s Orange Gingerbread
  • For the cakes
  • 305 grams (2 1/4 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour*
  • 3 grams (1 teaspoon) xantham gum**
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoorn ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 8 grams (1 3/4 teaspoons) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 205 ml (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) molasses
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) honey
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) warm water
  • 100 grams (2 cups) cranberries
  • For the glaze
  • 250 ml (1 cup) orange juice
  • 450 grams (2 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease & line a square-welled pan with parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper as well. (Or use a muffin tin and line with cupcake papers)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, xantham gum (if using), spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs and whisk until they are thick and pale.
  4. Stir in the molasses and the honey.
  5. Now, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Once everything is mixed well, add the warm water and gently stir until it is entirely combined and the mixture has turned into a smooth batter.
  6. Divide the batter among the wells of your pan or cupcake tin, and they should be about 2/3 full.
  7. Add 3-4 cranberries to each tea cake.
  8. Bake cake for 25-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. While your tea cakes bake, whisk together your juice, confectioners sugar and extract to form a smooth glaze. Feel free to add sugar to make a thicker (or sweeter) glaze. There is no exact science with this part.
  10. When the cakes are done, cool on a wire rack and drizzle with the glaze. The recipe makes a generous amount, so don’t be shy with it.

Because donuts are so last year. And muffins are for boring people. (Well, just for today. Tomorrow cool people will be making muffins again).

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