Your First Meeting? Remember This.
Confession: I’ve always wanted to go on a blind date. The idea of having only stats on paper and matching the personality to the name has always sounded uncharacteristically thrilling to a careful introvert like me.
If you don’t think I’ve lost my mind, good. Keep reading. I promise it gets better & deliciously relatable.
Let’s think about this from a client and graphic designer perspective. You're looking to have a logo designed for your start-up. How are you likely to first meet a designer? If you don’t already know one and are starting from scratch, a couple scenarios might play out:
- You ask your network of friends/colleagues for a logo designer they recommend. Preferably talented, with great looking work and easy to work with.
- You search through your social media channels for designers in your area, looking for the one who stands out most on paper.
- You put out a request, describing what you are looking for help with via Thumbtack, LocalSolo or other work for hire site and hope for the best.
So let’s see:
- tapping into people you know to cast their net on your behalf
- using the online tools to find the ones whose work is the easiest on your eyes, and
- summoning unyielding amounts optimism
That startlingly resembles a blind date, right?
So I’ve decided that if my husband is ever insane (or enlightened) enough to say yes to my blind date aspirations, I’ll likely deploy the same skills I use when meeting new clients.
In the meantime, maybe these tips can help you when meeting a design professional:
The Real Me
That might seem overstated, but I can’t scream this enough! Fake personalities stink worse than bad cologne, so relax and be yourself. The first meeting is the perfect time to decide if the possible collaboration feels right. And that decision will be a complete fail if both parties are showboating and wearing their best masks.
If you usually get nervous before new interactions (raises hand), make sure and plan your day accordingly so that you aren’t rushing to or out of the meeting.
Prepare your questions beforehand. Make eye contact and ensure you are getting it in return. I make it a point to listen to a client’s problem, reading between the lines so I can highlight important details or things that need follow up. Sometimes what ISN’T said can be as much of a red flag as what IS.
Don’t be afraid to look for chemistry, sans the romantic stuff. Did they laugh at your icebreaker joke? Do they speak with the same light-hearted yet focused nature or did they fidget while looking passively annoyed by every question you have? Pay attention to body language too.
This Is How I Do It
I try my best to work my process into every piece of communication I put out to let clients know that I value organization. It’s my duty to walk client’s through my process, making each project a learning experience for both the client and me.
I discuss how I work, why I do it that way, and why it will lead to a successful end product.
We also discuss things like who your target market is, deadlines, and the type of work you are looking for. But make your expectations clear as well.
When everyone is on the same page, there is a greater sense of harmony and security about the entire experience.
If I had a penny for every time I’ve met a potential client in a crowded Starbucks…While I love the freedom the carefree ability to meet up at your local coffee shop, I’ve learned that timing is everything.
No shade to the mermaid lady, but try another local coffee shop that may not be as perpetually crowded.
It’s also worth it to call ahead and find out when the establishment’s busiest hours are so you can plan around it and ensure some somewhat quiet time.
Don’t rule out guaranteed quiet spots like a library or bookshop. Try co-working spots that rent out offices on a one-time basis.
And of course if a face to face meeting isn’t possible, virtual meetings should follow the same guidelines. The goal is to find the right environment for the best meeting of minds.