Now here is something odd. Why am I suggesting that you start delivering coffee? Let me explain.
When it comes to “meeting for coffee” I’m certain that both you and I have had our fill—pun intended. Yes, authentic, mutually beneficial networking is a must in order to grow and advance your career. And yes, meeting for coffee is an ideal way to do so. But how often should we need to ask a busy person to take two or three hours out of their schedules to drive somewhere to meet us just so we can “pick their brain?”
While meeting for coffee is a common networking practice, it is slowly becoming archaic. Probably because of the frustration of agreeing to a meeting only to find the asker is ill prepared to make it a mutually beneficial session. Even worse being pitched a service or product or asked for a favor beyond the scope of niceties. Trust me, this happens to me all the time.
First and foremost, we are busy people. We don’t (and shouldn’t) have all the time in the world to drive around town meeting folks for coffee. If you do, then we definitely need to talk about your career prospects.
So why not turn the old practice into something that will not only make it easier on both parties while garnering you a positive reputation in the meantime. Here’s my suggestion:
Deliver two cups of coffee.
That’s right. Swing by your favorite coffee shop, pick up two cups, then go to the targeted individual’s workplace and have your meeting onsite. Now I know there are a million protests running through your mind: I don’t know if they like coffee? I’m not sure if they’d be willing to meet me? What if they’re not there? And on and on.
Well, here’s where the positive impression gets rolling. Pick up the phone and ask. That’s right. I know it’s scary but it’s so much better than asking them to leave work to meet you.
So get them on the phone and let them know that out of respect for their busy schedule you would like to swing by for 20 minutes and deliver them a coffee along with your goal for the meeting (remember, no surprises). Ask them what they prefer and then bring it, along with your list of questions or pre-planned meeting agenda and take it from there.
Who knows, you might find them more than willing to leave their office to meet you somewhere. But by setting out to make the connection easy for them you are already starting with a coffee cup that’s half full.
How to Be Career Happy? Deliver Two Cups of Coffee