5 Things Meetings

By Nicholas Nesbitt

Nicholas Nesbitt is a Johannesburg based creative specialising in Illustration, Digital Design and Sound Design. These are some of his latest illustrated ramblings. Enjoy :)

1. Be a detective

So you just got a call from a potential client, you are super happy for the possibility of new work. You set up a meeting for later in the week. Now its time for a little detective work.

It’s important for you to be prepared, especially if this is your first meeting with the new client. Try do as much snooping as you can to prepare yourself for what might come your way. You may also need to tailor a few things like your resume or perhaps get a little mood board together.

Remember this is also a way for you to check out if this is a viable opportunity or just a time wasting vampire. If you sense the latter… try to get more info via email before you schedule the meeting.

2. Put on your superhero outfit

I know it’s a cliché but first impressions are really important. First meetings are not about being entirely yourself. On a first meeting you should be showing off the most professional version of yourself even if you have to fake it a little.

That’s not say you should go out and buy a new suit, or feel uncomfortable wearing that thing you bought long ago and have only ever worn to Superman’s funeral. Iron your shirt and make sure your big boy pants are clean. Clean your laptop screen and brush your hair a bit.

When you are in the meeting make sure you turn off your phone. Try not to eat unless its a lunch meeting and maintain focus on your client at all times.

3. Plan of action

At this point you should have researched your client and you have a good idea of the objectives of the meeting. Never go into battle without a plan.

In the meeting, go through all the points in your plan and clearly jot down notes where homework needs to be done. Highlight red flags or issues that you might encounter. Ask questions and make sure you are very clear about what the job entails.

Try to keep the discussion focused on the plan. There is nothing worse than when a meeting gets hijacked and you leave with more questions than answers. Try to politely steer the discussion towards your list so that you get all the info you need from the meeting.

4. Tick Tock

People must respect your time, as you should respect theirs. Set up a time limit for your meeting and stick to this.

If your client is drifting, remind them that their time with you is running out. If all parties know that the clock is ticking, it will force the meeting to focus on the most important issues at hand.

Once the time is up, it is ok to politely say that you need to get to another appointment.

5. There is always a sequel

Great, the meeting went well! You are feeling good about the work ahead. It’s important to regroup after a meeting and try summarise what needs to be done.

Its a good idea to send a follow up email thanking the client for meeting and include everything that was agreed on, as well as future milestones and deadlines that need to be hit.

Remember its important to have a fairly detailed paper trail for future dealings with your client!

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