Write down what you think constitutes a good meeting. Think about what has and has not worked in your past experiences.
Meetings are, or will be, a vitally important part of your art career, and your conduct and informed, engaged participation are crucial. You may want to schedule a meeting with a potential employer, a gallery, an exhibition space, a curator, or a possible donor. These meetings can determine whether the topic you are presenting gets funded, scheduled, or supported.
Here are some tips for keeping things on the right track:
1. Always confirm a meeting the day before if possible.
2. Always be on time. Any time you are late, you are showing the person that her/his time isn’t valuable to you. Make sure you know where you are going and how long it takes to get there. When in doubt, call the meeting party to double check directions.
3. Dress appropriately. This does not necessarily mean a suit and tie. This does mean that you are clean, and have considered your appearance. We are lucky that casual wear is often acceptable in the arts, but be considerate of who you are meeting with, and dress appropriately.
4. Know the agenda for your meeting. Setting and creating an agenda means that everyone attending is on the same page and understands what will be discussed.
5. Have a series of questions ready to ask that are relevant to the topic. Be sure to give the other person ample time to respond before you ask another question.
6. If you are hosting the meeting, have basic, comfortable seating and, at the least, water for everyone to drink.
7. Turn off all electronic devices that may interrupt the meeting, such as cell phones (or put on vibrate) or computers. If you are using a computer to take notes, don’t block the view of any of the participants at the meeting. Make sure the other participants know you are taking notes, so they don’t think you are doing something else, like checking your email or listening to voice messages. If you must answer the phone, step outside to do so.
8. Stay on topic once the meeting has started.
9. Listen carefully, and take notes.
10. If you have nervous habits, such as leg jiggling or pen twirling, keep them hidden.
11. Do not take your shoes off, especially if you have stinky feet, unless the meeting is casual and you get permission.
12. Do not bring any additional guests to the meeting without clearing it with the chair or the agenda.
13. Avoid side conversations, and don’t talk over someone else who is speaking.
14. Don’t repeat what someone else has already said, and definitely do not take credit for the comment.
15. Be prepared for any presentations you need to make, or questions that may be asked of you. Only speak when you have the floor. Don’t interrupt.
16. If the meeting is very long, schedule breaks every two hours or when needed.
17. Attend the full meeting.
18. When relevant, distribute notes, assignments, or a schedule of deliverables at the end of the meeting, and arrange the next meeting or point of contact. Make sure everyone understands her/his role and deadlines.
19. Always follow up, either with a thank you note, courteous email, or to confirm next steps.