How to Schedule a Meeting

After Sunday’s get-together, I received a few emails like the following1

Hi, APA!

I met a lot of people on Sunday but I don’t know a polite way to continue the connection. Do I just call them out of the blue? Email? Text?

Several of them are PAs (like me) and work 60+ hours a week. How are we supposed to find time to network, anyway?

Setting up a meeting with a fellow production assistant is pretty easy, actually. You’re about the same age (mid-20s, early-30s), with similar interests (movies, television), and similar schedules (long).

They’ll totally sympathize with you if you say, “Let’s get drinks on Thursday, at 9:00 or 10:00, depending on when my show wraps.” And if your day goes extra long, they’re not going to feel slighted.

Because I’m not so great at talking with my words out loud at human people, I prefer emailing the above sentiment. Possibly with the subject line: “We Met at TAPA’s Get Together.”

If you’re going to set a meeting with someone who’s higher up than you, or with, say, a manager or agent, it gets trickier. The dynamics change when you need more from them than they need from you.

The first thing is, be flexible. Give them a range of times you’re free. If they suggest a time outside of that range, try your best to say yes, anyway. PAing is a demanding job, but if you have the opportunity to, say, pitch a script, your boss will probably understand when you ask for the morning off, or a few hours at lunch.

If you absolutely cannot take the meeting at a given time, reply with the reason, and suggest a different time. But here’s the thing– don’t go back and forth more than twice.

Even though this isn’t actually hard, for some reason, people tend to view scheduling as a daunting task. It’s kinda like a date; if the object of your affection turns you down three times, you’ll probably move on. Likewise, if you say, “That time doesn’t work for me” three times, they start to think you’re not actually interested.

This is really hard to do when you’re on a show, unless you’re willing to talk about getting that time off. And if you feel weird asking for time off to go to a meeting… tell the coordinator you have a doctor’s appointment.

Why PANTS? Any item of clothing could be burning, and it would rhyme with "liar, liar."
Because of the burns on your legs.
Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. I also received a few complaints about the parking. Check the basketball schedule next time, TAPA! Or, maybe just don’t do it downtown at all. Lesson learned.

    If you have a place you’d like to recommend for the next meetup, I’m all ears!

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