You Know You’re Something Special–Perfect Meet and Greets!

It seems like since this blog has started (way back in 2010), one topic has come up time and time again, which is meet and greets.  Our most recent blog about this was done earlier this week by our friend who did a guest blog about the event on Monday night in New York City.  Before that, we have covered meet and greets from official ones at shows as well as other activities that are similar in nature like cd signings and book signings.  We have also covered ones that are not directly Duran related but with other famous people.  I believe that if we were to go back and look at every single post, and there are many, we could pick out elements that make for the most successful meet and greet experiences for both celebrity and fan alike.  This is where the blog has been an extremely good learning tool for myself.  Before the blog and all of the posts related,  I wouldn’t have been able to articulate what really makes a good meet and greet.  Now, I feel like I could despite never having a meet and greet with Duran outside of signings.  This post, then, will spell out these elements to make it clear what works, at least as far as I see it.  In order to create this list of essential meet and greet parts, I will be referring back to 5 specific posts.  They are as follows:

*Guest blog about Monday’s MoMa experience:  Perfect Day

*Post about my John Taylor book signing:  ‘Cause You’re Getting Me Out of It

*Comic Con experience and meeting of Zachary Quinto:  I Won’t Turn You Out…

*Meet and greet with President Obama:  Meet el Presidente

*Guest blog about travel packages the band did in 2003:  Finest Hour

I chose these posts for a few reasons.  First, the guest blogs seem to capture really big deals in the history of the Duran Duran fandom.  Those “meet and greets” were beyond the normal.  They were special and they were significant for those who participated.  The middle three were ones that I could speak to, personally, since they are my experiences and ones that I learned a lot from.  I’m sure that there were other posts that I could have included.  Plus, these all had some or all of the elements I’m going to be emphasizing here.

Elements that make up perfect meet and greets:

1.  Rules help.

In all of the posts I mentioned often, they all stated that rules were clearly explained.  It was clear about when to show up and where.  The fans knew what to expect in terms of interactions with the celebrities, including if the fans would approach them or vice versa.  The same was true for any sort of physical contact.  Fans knew where they needed to go and where the celebrities would be within the specified location.  Things like photographs were spelled out, including who could take pictures, who couldn’t, when you could, the role of the professional photographer, etc.  

2.  Other employees connected to the celebrities should be present.

These employees help probably both famous and fan know that the rules mentioned above will be followed.  On top of that, they create a sense that this is a big deal to fans, which makes it feel more special.  Plus, fans often like to know or talk to those people as well!  I know that I do!  🙂

3.  The setting and extras make a difference.

Meet and greets in gross hallways feel icky.  On the other hand, meet and greets in nice settings like restaurants, banquet halls, bars, etc. make it feel more special.  Those kind of places show that the meet and greet wasn’t an after thought but something planned out, something important.  It reinforces the goal of the meet and greet as the fans feel like they matter and their experience matters.  Food is another nice touch, if and only if, the food is quality.  If it isn’t quality, then, the message to the fans shift from you matter to you being an afterthought.  Likewise, drinks are always a plus!

4.  Time and space are essential.

Fans need to know that they are NOT rushed.  They need the time to actually exchange words with the celebrity of choice.  If fans feel rushed or feel like they only have 30 seconds, the experience won’t be as positive and could even feel negative.  Fans could feel like they don’t matter again and that the celebrity(s) is just doing this because they have to rather than because they want to.  Likewise, fans need to have some space to just be with the celebrity.  I don’t know of any fan who wants to share her/his moment with the celebrity of choice with 50 other people breathing down one’s neck.  Also, meet and greets should just happen for those who are assertive, socially.  If you are there, it should happen with no pressure on how to be.

Results of the perfect meet and greets:

For the Fan:

First, all the fans feel like they have had their moment, their special and real moment with an idol(s).  On a personal level, that really matters!!!  Every fan I know wants this.  Second, for the community, there is a decline in that competition between fans.  If everyone at a meet and greet has her/his chance, moment, etc., there is no need to fight for time or attention from the celebrity.  Everyone can just be happy for each other.  Then, there is more joy and harmony within the fan community.  Lastly, people’s fandom is reinforced.  They love the celebrity MORE after a perfect meet and greet.

For the Celebrity:

First, these kind of meet and greets enhance people’s fandom.  They are more likely to stay fans, which is super important for celebrities who take breaks or have long stretches outside of the spotlight (*coughDuranDurancough*).  Likewise, they are also more likely to support the celebrities’ projects.  That support could come in the form of talking about the celebrity(s) in one’s real life interactions but also on social media.  It could also come in the form of buying more products (cds, concert tickets, merchandise, etc.).  Second, a happier fan community also works to keep fans in the community.  If the competition gets too much or leads to negative interactions between fans, those fans could decide to leave.  That is a loss of money and attention to the celebrity.  Lastly, if the fans have these well-structure chances to interact with the celebrity(s), then there might not be as many fans bothering them at off-work times or, in ways, that are less than comfortable for the celebrity.  Truly, these kind of meet and greets are a win-win for all involved.

This list is probably not complete, but this is how I see it.  Am I the only one?  What do you think?  What does the perfect meet and greet contain?  As a Duranie, I could only hope that the band looks at Monday’s event and things like those previous travel packages in order to determine their meet and greets in the future.  I think it would benefit all of us.


7 thoughts on “You Know You’re Something Special–Perfect Meet and Greets!”

  1. So just in case Amanda isn't quite spelling it out clearly enough – Monday night's VIP party was pretty much EXACTLY as any fan might want…and just so we're all clear: it was the kind of event that fans didn't mind paying extra to be at. Interestingly enough, when the event was announced, I immediately discarded the thought of attending from my mind. I couldn't justify or afford the trip, I had just gotten back from a convention in Chicago AND most importantly – I didn't feel as though the screening, even though the band were to be present, would be worth the cost of flying out there. Even when people started saying they were going to go, I felt that unless you lived in the general area, people were crazy for going, as though they were so starved for the band that they would take anything…ANYTHING. I couldn't have been more wrong. (cue rueful laugh here)

    I had three thoughts on Tuesday morning. One: I was so excited for my friends who attended because this VIP event was WAY better than I thought it would be. It exceeded expectations – which quite honestly, is a miracle. I really thought it was going to be a sad little get together on one side of a restaurant for fans while the band, their friends, family, etc. would be in another area. (Yes, I had really low expectations) Second: I was completely stunned by the irony. The ONE damn event I couldn't go to, and of course it's on the east coast, and it's the VIP event of my dreams. (with one significant missing guitarist – and if LeBon ever offers that job to someone else like he did in the Q & A again – he and I will have words. Not cool, Simon.) Lastly: I was happy to see that the band finally stepped it up and had a worthy VIP event like the kind that Amanda and I have been describing and suggesting FOR YEARS.

    The question of course is whether they'll do it again. I hope so, because at some point I'd love to be at one, but I don't know how the band felt about it. I *can* tell them how I felt about it as a fan who wasn't even there… I think it made me feel as though we matter. That the band wants to make an effort to know who in the hell we really are, at least to some extent. I don't have grand designs on what I think a “proper” connection might be – so please don't read it that way, but I think my main point is that after 30 years, it's just nice to get past the whole “you're just another face in the crowd”…again, to some small extent. Perception matters…making that effort, however small, REALLY does make a difference. I hope the band knows that, and recognizes how appreciative we are, well…*I* am…that they tried. I don't know how fans behaved other than what was told to me – but from what I heard, it was a pleasant atmosphere. There was no grabbing at someone's hair or trying to make ridiculous plays for attention, and I'm happy (and relieved) to hear that. I don't know if the band will do it like this again. I'll bet that the very next VIP opportunity to come up will sell out in mere seconds though, in hopes that it's like this again. I don't know if it will be, and that's the game we all play, isn't it? I hate that part…and this is something I hope band and management understands: it shouldn't be a game of “which event should I go to?” It would be nice to know going in what exactly to expect and NOT expect. I don't think that's asking much, and I also think that if expectations are set in advance, there's a lot less room for insanity. (Not that there wouldn't be any, but as I've said before, I think there would be LESS.)

    Still envious of those who got the chance, but I'm very, very happy DDHQ tried something a little different with this one. Well done. Very well done. -R

  2. Prior to say I never attended a meet and greet with any celebrity and musician I love, these are the factors that would make it a decent one, given my shy, my age, my today perception on music, fame and fandom, my fluency in English, my money, my habits.
    THE VENUE: the studio, I think that's my fave habitat and I think my fave musicians are in their best mood there.
    TIME OF MEET AND GREET: during the day, as I'm a morning person and I hate the night and the dark.
    DURING THE “MOMENT”: I am supposed to have the nerve to tell them, while shaking our hands or hugging each other “Thank you for all – My wish is still the same: get it on and bang that f*cking gong in the same amazing way T-Rex taught you, guys!”
    Thanks for setting me free to post the report of the meet and greet of my dreams.

  3. The point of the post wasn't to each of us fans to post what would be our ideal one but to point out, generally, what they and any other celebrity should design for meet and greets. I think we all individually might have our preferences. Heck, they could come to my house. That would be ideal for me but I am well-aware that we can and should only ask for so much. This is what should be designed for the collective.


  4. I've attended formal meet and greets like this,and after-party types that the band throws. It was a night and day difference. While I'm glad I had the experience, the guys almost seemed kind of “fake” and forced to smile, forced to make their way and get a pic with everyone. I'm glad there was interaction, but since there were over 100 fans, it was almost like there was competition to get to them to speak (you can see this in the official pics–the same people are photographed over and over it seems). Simon wasn't like he is in small settings and seemed a bit overwhelmed, Nick seemed friendlier than usual (maybe it was the drinks? lol), but he talked to everyone as opposed to being choosy in other settings. Can't comment on John because he doesn't go out after shows like the others, and I've only met Roger once or twice. BUT, I am glad fans had opportunities to talk and take pics. I stood away for the most part so those who have never met them could get their chance. Just saying I notice a big difference in them with formal meet & greets vs. small gatherings after concerts.

  5. During the screening I was sitting beside 2 girls who flew in from Texas. I commented to them, “well, you definitely got your money's worth!” and they 100% agreed. I was surprised just how many flew out for the slim chance it would be a rushed M&G. I'm glad the fans who flew in felt it was worth it. This was something nice to hold everyone over until the next album.

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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