How to Succeed in the “Meet for Coffee” Business

Career Blog

For many people, networking is a dreaded affair. This is especially true for introverts who loathe the required small talk that comes with the event. That said, even the most gregarious among us can be a little intimidated by the process, especially if their conversation counterpart is seen as a more powerful or politically important player.

If requesting a meet for coffee conversation is not your favorite sport, leverage the following three rules to combat your discomfort and help ensure the interaction is beneficial to both parties.

  1. Have a Clear, Specific Reason for the Meeting: Don’t say you want to pick my brain, be as specific as possible e.g. You want to learn how to break into professional speaking; You want to collect job leads for a career in finance; or You want to learn how to take your business to the next level. The more specific your request, the faster I’m able to help or refer you to someone who can if the topic is outside my expertise.
  2. Request an Action/Take an Action: If I meet with you, it’s because I know you and have a vested interest in your success or because at one point, a new acquaintance helped me and I’m simply paying back the karma. So, make the interaction worth the time spent. That mean’s two things. First, make a clear request of me: share a contact, provide a referral, loan me a copy of a book. Second, commit to an action ­– actually use what was provided within a specific time frame.
  3. Help Me….Or at Least Offer To:Learning is a two way street so always end the conversation with an inquiry as to how you can return the favor. Everyone has contacts and knowledge to share so take a moment to ask what I’m trying to achieve with my business and offer to help where you can. Perhaps I’m writing a new book and you have a friend who is a rock star literary agent. Sometimes you can help. Sometimes you can’t. But the offer is always appreciated.

Finally, don’t forget to Follow up. Let your conversation counterpart know how you are doing. It means more than you know.

If I spent time with you, chances are I want you to be successful. So circle back now and then to share your triumphs. I’ll take pride in the small role I played in that success, be more invested in your future, and thus more likely to help again down the road.  

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