Preparing for a Face-to-Face Photography Meeting

[by Jenna Close]

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again for the record: I’m an absolute, bona-fide chicken when it comes to asking for a meeting. The biggest problem with this situation is that in-person meetings are an extremely important aspect of marketing; far more potent than faceless mailers and multiple emails. The only solution I’ve found for overcoming this fear is the following:

Practice until it feels comfortable, then practice some more.

Call people you trust and perfect your phone skills in a safe environment. Put a smile in your voice. Watch your “ummms”. Strive to be natural, confident and friendly.

Actually listen to telemarketers. Once I made myself pay attention to people trying to sell me something, I learned a lot about what I DIDN’T want to emulate.

Go to a portfolio review. It’s a great way to practice talking about your work without the full pressure of a meeting. Study how you react in the face of criticism and learn what kinds of strange behaviors rear their heads when you’re nervous. I suggest taking it one step further when appropriate and question the reviewer about your desk-side manner. How was your body language? Did you appear nervous? Forget to make eye contact? What was their first impression of you as you sat down?

Ask a local photographer you admire to help you. Don’t ask them by email, CALL THEM. If they are willing, meet with them and ask for honest answers. If you can take the risk with someone you admire, you can do it with a stranger. If they say no, chalk that up to experience. Rejection is a part of this process, so it’s best to learn how to deal with it in a healthy way right from the start.

It’s OK to be afraid. You certainly aren’t the only one. I think a part of me will always be uncomfortable with this aspect of the job. However, doing whatever you can to build confidence will make the process far less excruciating.

via Strictly Business.