Let’s talk about this phenomenon that happens at most corporate events: Meet and Greets. What are they? What do you say? Why are they important?
The Meet and Greet is about ten minutes of your life that, if done properly, can pay big dividends to not only you and your career, but also to the producer who hires you to be at the show for their clients. They usually happen after a show and are often backstage, but sometimes they happen in front of the stage in the house. It is an opportunity for the guests at the show to take photos with you, get to chat with you, and see a little bit about what your life is like when you’re not on the stage. They usually last between ten and twenty minutes.
At a Meet and Greet, you do just that–meet a lot of people. One of my biggest tips is not to be eating or drinking. Listen to people and answer their questions. Sometimes they babble about places they’ve been, people they’ve seen, who you remind them of, or maybe some talent they have or someone they know that has a talent similar to yours. It’s a good chance for people to get to meet you and see what you are like off stage.
What do you say at a Meet and Greet? If you are good at talking to people, then you know what to do. I have seen a lot of entertainers, though, who aren’t real comfortable in one-on-one settings like the Meet and Greets. It’s important to know that they are a great opportunity for networking as we will talk about in a moment. People will almost always start the conversation and the easiest thing for you to do is just to answer and ask questions back.
Another important thing to remember in a Meet and Greet is that you are trying to make a new best friend. So be a good listener and answer questions as humorously and sincerely as you can. Allow for simple transitions. There will be many people at most Meet and Greets, and it’s a learned skill to transition gracefully. Think about opening the circle to include new people as they come up to you. That way you can get a whole lot of people covered at one time.
What can you ask these people if you aren’t used to these kinds of interactions? You can ask them easy things about the company.
What do you do here at the company? How long have you worked here? Are you the one responsible for the success last year? Little things like that. Open ended questions that will allow people to talk, and the conversation can flow quite naturally. Make them a part of it. Are you a magician? Do you have a little trick you could have in your pocket? Are you a musician? Do you have a guitar pick with your name and website on it? Little things like that really ease the meet and greets.
Have cards with the producers contact info, and of course get those ahead of time. Any producers worth their salt will hand you a stack of their cards before the gig to make sure you pass those out at the show.
Why are Meet and Greets so important? Producers expect you to be very nice to their clients seeing as they are the ones paying the bill.
Don’t skimp on the Meet and Greet. This is a chance to raise your value without really having to do anything extra. It’s a great opportunity. You have to bite the bullet if this isn’t your thing and follow some of the suggestions I gave above.
Meet and Greets give you a chance to plug yourself for future work. If you’re doing a Meet and Greet after a killer show at an association conference, then you’re basically talking to people who can hire you to come to their company in the future.
Get some practice in these social situations and figure out exactly what works for you. Always agree to a Meet and Greet if a producer asks you to do it. It’s just part of the gig and I’ve met some really cool people at Meet and Greets. I met a couple in New Mexico last month who saw us years ago in Utah at a different event, and the guy said he was going to get in touch with the committee at his company because he thought it was time to have us back again. I told him I couldn’t agree more so I hope that one works out.
That’s an introduction to Meet and Greets, and we will be talking more about this.
I will see you on the road.