Coffee can do much more than just wake you up in the morning. Networking over a couple of cafe lattes is ideal for busy schedules, so step away from your computer and enjoy more face time. Consider these ideas before scheduleing your next .
How to Ask for a Coffee Meeting
Start small. If you’re apprehensive about extending invitations to cold contacts, start with those you already know. Loyal customers will appreciate the extra attention. You may be surprised by what you can learn from one of your contacts 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. However, they still want to make good use of their time. Be ready to explain why you want to meet.
Create interest. Ensure your offer is appealing to your guest. Do you have the information they need? Do they like helping recent graduates?
Do your research. Find out more about your guest through Linked In, Facebook, and relevant press articles. That knowledge will enrich your conversation and suggest questions you can ask.
Handle logistics. Make it convenient for others to help you. Suggest specific places and times to meet. Maybe you’re attending the same conference or there’s a coffee shop in their office lobby.
How to Make Your Coffee Meeting Effective and Productive
Check the clock. Take charge of seeing to it that your meeting can end on time. If the conversation is running strong, let your guest know when it’s a few minutes before the time they had to leave. That way you can wrap things up or let them decide to linger.
Take notes. Pull out your tablet or a notepad. Jot down any important points or tasks you want to put on your to-do list.
Be specific. Being direct usually, pays off. Know what you want, and ask for it. Maybe you’re looking for leads in your job hunt or trying to find investors for your new business.
Express appreciation. Whatever the outcome, let your guest know that you’re grateful for their time and assistance. Thank them as you say goodbye, and send a note 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.
Follow up. 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 5 coffee meetings a month, 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.
Rachale Kelley helps moms who have children with physical and mental challenges pursue their dreams. She believes every parent should have a way to escape their 9-5 and access to systems and strategies that will keep them from becoming overwhelmed in the process so that they can have more time freedom with their family and less time being overwhelmed.
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