Taking a meeting.

If your phone call / email / application to a company or individual is successful, they will suggest meeting with you.

Here's a short list of considerations to remember the next time you have a meeting to go to.

Taking a meeting involves courtesy and professionalism. Suggesting a workable place and time is your aim, but be prepared to shift a few things around to accommodate schedules. People will judge you on whether you are on time, how you look, and what you say or don’t say.

The meeting might take place at the company’s office or in a more social environment like a coffee shop. Give yourself plenty of time to park and find the location. If you even anticipate being late, get their mobile/cell number so you can let them know. Dress appropriately for the meeting, in today’s media marketplace a mixture of smart and casual. A suit might be a little too formal, whereas dirty sneakers and jogging clothes might not be enough. Always take a pen and paper to write anything down — this also shows you’re prepared.

Respect and courtesy go a long way. Introduce yourself, look them in the eye, and shake their hand. Ask how they are and be prepared to have small talk before you get down to business. A meeting might not concern an open job, but focus on face-to-face introductions and possible future projects. They are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. Before even considering your technical capabilities, they want to see what you’re like as a person and realistically interact with you. The trick here is to be interested, not interesting. I’ve had interviews and meetings where someone just talked at me for 20 minutes straight about what they can do or have done. It’s very boring and doesn’t go well. Know your ideal outcome, too. Is it to discuss a particular project, have an informal introductory meeting, or to pitch a certain idea? Use your main objective to guide and steer the conversation if you go off track.

Research the company or person you are applying to. This should have been done before you sent that initial email, but before you meet, brush up on their work, plans, and company history. Mentioning something they have produced or been involved with can dramatically improve how they see you, and give you good material to talk about. But remember: the focus is on them! Everyone likes talking about themselves, so ask about their work first. The conversation will soon give you the opportunity to talk about your work.

"The trick here is to be interested, not interesting."

As an additional piece of information, I like to make some kind of small connection with the other person on a subject unrelated to the meeting. Maybe it comes up that you both love comic books or green tea — anything that connects the two of you in that moment.

When you think the meeting is coming to a close, it’s a good idea to be the one to end the conversation. “I won’t take up any more of your time. I know you’re busy. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me,” and make your closing remarks. The next day, follow up with an email reiterating how enjoyable it was to meet them and offering related niceties. The small conversational tidbit could reconnect both parties and show you have a lighter side to your personality. Remember, they are looking at you as a person just as much as your abilities. A good opportunity to keep in active touch may arise if, a few months later, you respectfully dispatch an updated showreel or a relevant news article. I reply using the old email thread so all can immediately see the previous conversation.

So I hope these insights might be of use the next time you have to sit and meet with a future employer, collaborator, or producer. Good luck!

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