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Who doesn’t love coffee?
It’s time for our beloved java to help us in our business because we all know it’s much more than just a way to wake us up in the morning, right?
Networking over a couple of café lattes is ideal for busy schedules, so it’s time to step away from the computer and enjoy more face time.
Consider these tips before you schedule your next coffee meeting:
asking for a coffee meeting
Ask people you already know, whether friends or acquaintances.
Invite a loyal customer or trusted vendor who might appreciate the extra attention.
You may be surprised by what you can learn from one of your connections when you talk more in depth.
Clarify Your Purpose
Busy people are more likely to agree to 20 minutes of coffee than to a full lunch hour.
Keep in mind: they are also on schedules and don’t like to waste time.
Be sure to explain why you want to meet.
Do you have info that would be beneficial to them?
Are they already networking with people in your niche?
Ensure your offer is appealing to your guest, then extend it.
Do your research
In short: do a little harmless social media stalking.
Find their profiles and/or any relevant press coverage.
Use what you find to have something to talk about:
- Conversation starters
- Pertinent questions to ask
Handle the logistics
Help them help you. Make it convenient to do so.
Be specific when you suggest places/times to meet:
- Are you attending a conference with them?
- Do you happen to have a meeting and will be in the vicinity of their office?
- Is there a coffee shop near that is convenient for both of you?
make meetings effective & productive
show up on time
Try to arrive before your guest.
Get seated and greet them when they come in. Thank them for meeting with you.
Respecting their time is sure to make a good impression.
offer to pay
Ask your guest what they’d like to order, assuming you’ll foot the total bill.
If they prefer to split the check or treat you, accept graciously. Don’t argue about it.
keep an eye on the clock
Take charge and see to it that your meeting ends on time.
Even if the conversation is flowing freely, let your guest know when it’s a few minutes before the time they had to leave.
From there, they have two choices:
- Wrap things up
- Decide to stay a bit longer
I’m a chronic note taker, so I recommend you have your tablet or a notepad with you.
Jot down any important points or tasks you want to put on your to do list.
Whatever the outcome, let your guest know that you appreciate their time and/or assistance.
Thank them as you say goodbye.
Make a mental note to send a note, send an email, or call them within the next few days.
return the favor
One of the most sincere ways to thank any benefactor is to join them in being generous.
Offer something of value to your guest or pay it forward if there’s nothing immediate you can do.
A successful coffee meeting can be the beginning of something much bigger.
Stay in touch with your contacts.
Tell them when you manage to implement one of their ideas.
Send them referrals or research studies that you think they’ll enjoy.
think long term
Networking requires sustained effort if you want to expand your professional circles and enhance your reputation.
Arrange 1-5 coffee meetings a month (whatever you have time for), and see how much progress you make.
Make meeting for coffee part of your regular routine.
Build your network one cup at a time in a casual and friendly atmosphere where you can discuss ideas and deepen your relationships.