At our meetings we discuss things such as:
Sometimes meetings can get quite lively -- we are a highly individual bunch with definite opinions, and certainly don't always see eye-to-eye with each other! However, there is one circumstance where we do ensure we have a consensus: inviting a new Laurel to join us. By the time a candidate is asked, we are all ready to welcome him/her into our Order with open arms.
As mentioned in How Are Laurels Chosen, we keep several lists of people we are interested in and might wish to join the Order in the future. When someone -- let us use John Artisan as a ficticious example -- is first brought to our attention, he is placed on the Watch List. From there, if he is active in his craft and doing well, he may progress to the Discuss List. If John gets to the point where we feel his work is at Laurel level, we are happy with his general Peerage Qualities, and feel he would be comfortable as a Peer, we advance him to a Move to Recommend stage, and if none of us have any major objections within a few weeks, we recommend him to the Crown forthwith. Once the Crown has agreed, we ask John to join us.
If John becomes inactive for a while, he will be moved back to the Watch list, or removed from the lists altogether (effectively put on hold). Likewise, if he makes a really major faux pas (eg, he loses his temper on the battlefield and punches out a marshal, or is notably discourteous or dishonourable), we may well take him off the lists.
John should not, however, feel he's lost his chance at becoming a Peer for ever. We are actually aware that people are only human, and can stuff up. If he shows he regrets his bad behaviour, doesn't repeat it, and continues on with his former promising Arts and Sciences work, we will not let the incident weigh against him. Indeed, after a year or so anyone who tries to bring up former misdeeds when candidates are discussed will be promptly sat upon!
All the aspects of a candidate's progress are discussed at meetings, both the good and the bad. Of course, we always hope there'll be lots more of the good, and we certainly don't go around writing down all the candidates' pecadillos in a little black book! Nor do we dwell unduly on bad points -- contrary to one often-heard stereotype, Laurel meetings are not orgies of character-shredding.
Most of the meetings are quite routine -- John Artisan has been recommended to us, do we know anything about him, no we don't, detail nearest Laurel to have a look at what he's doing. Jane Artisan has done new work which looks really good and has been doing some new research, shall we move her to the Discuss List? Any objections? What about those nasty rumours she was spreading? Ah, that wasn't her, that was actually Jane Artificer. Oh good, no objection then. William Artisan's stuff is pretty much there, we think. Shall we move to recommend him? No, wait another couple of months till he's finished the big project he's working on, it looks as though it's really going to be a masterwork. Asking him when he's just finished that work should feel like a proper completion for him. Recommend Elaine Artisan? Yes, she's ready, got all the Peerage Qualities, let's go for it. Meeting over, who's for the tavern, then?
One perhaps unexpected problem in meetings is actually getting accurate information about the candidates. Naturally, we'd all like to be familiar with the candidates' work, but it does look a bit suspicious if a whole bunch of us come out of a meeting, step up to someone, and demand in chorus to see his/her work! So don't be modest, show us your work, show us other people's work, show us everyone's work :-) It's really helpful to get information, especially if it's about someone who may be too shy to show us his/her own work.
If you find yourself talking to a Laurel about your work, however, please don't feel that you're being grilled and everything you say will be written down and held as evidence against you. We got to be Laurels because we love the Arts & Sciences -- this means we are always interested in people's projects, and like to talk about them.