Let’s Grab Coffee: 6 Things to Remember When Networking Over Coffee
Though much of our networking is done online these days, the face to face meeting is still one of the most valuable ways to build relationships. Having coffee with interesting, connected people can be key to expanding your network in the right way.
Once you’ve done all the work of getting a coffee meeting with a valuable contact, however, you don’t want to squander the opportunity.
Whether you’re working to build a new relationship or reconnecting with someone you already know, keeping these 6 points in mind when you’re networking over coffee will help you make the most of that chance to chat.
1. Have an Interesting Conversation
Networking over coffee is about building a relationship with the other person, not giving them your resume. Focus on having a good conversation. Research their career and interests so you know what to talk about, and ask them broad questions that allow you to have a discussion about their experience and knowledge. Let them suggest anything more specific, like helping you find a job.
2. Go Off-Script
Know what you want to say, but if the conversation takes natural turns in different directions, let it. Don’t feel like you have to stick to your planned points. You never know what you’re going to get out of a conversation, and the results might be beneficial in ways you wouldn’t have expected.
3. Find Balance
You never want to find yourself dominating the conversation, but neither do you want to put the burden of conversation on the other person’s shoulders. Be conscious of finding a balance between talking about yourself, learning about the other person, and discussing different things – that’s a good sign that you’re both engaged and interested.
4. Prove Your Worth
If someone goes out of their way to meet with you, make sure they feel it was worth it. This doesn’t mean talking yourself up or humble-bragging your way through the conversation – most people are repelled by false modesty. Instead, bring value to the meeting by finding things you can connect on and by offering your own perspectives. Shared interests will often create the best opportunities for you to help each other.
5. Be Gracious
Keep in mind that they’re doing you a favour by taking the time to meet with you. Make the meeting as easy as possible for them, which usually means finding a location close to their office and a time that fits their schedule. Always offer to pay. And following up with a timely thank you note is, of course, essential.
6. Stick to Your Word
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. One of the easiest ways to show someone that you’re serious is to stick to your word. If you mention that you’re going to send them an article that afternoon, don’t wait a week – send it that afternoon. Following through on a promise is one of the first indicators that the other person can trust you.
What else is important to remember when networking over coffee? Let us know your thoughts below!