Some of the most effective meetings start with the phrase “let’s grab coffee” and end with setting up a follow up conversation to discuss ideas in more detail. Here are six (6) strategies for a successful coffee meeting.
Connect with the other person on LinkedIn. Review their profile to understand what they do, their previous experiences, and any shared connections. If this is someone that you have never met before, shared connections are a great topic to ease into the conversation. Also, it is helpful to review the company website and social media sites. Most often, the social media sites will show what theyare currently working on or engaged in.
Think about your goal
What is the purpose of this meeting? Did he/she reach out to you for advice? Are you seeking insight about a particular project? Is there a new business opportunity to discuss? Are you two just catching up? Is this a chance to develop a new relationship?
Be respectful of the other person’s time
Whatever your goal is for this meeting, be mindful that a coffee meeting is not a place to present a hard sell. This is the chance for both people to develop a mutual understanding of trust and credibility that will continue into further discussions after the meeting.
Focus on listening to the other person’s story. He/She will begin to share their insights, successes, and challenges. This is the chance to listen for opportunities in which you can find a way to do something mutually beneficial. Comments that build upon their side of the conversation will build your credibility and value for your expertise. This is the open door for new business opportunities.
Taking notes is a simple way to demonstrate your engagement in the conversation. The other person will feel respected because you find their knowledge valuable enough to write it down for future thoughts. If you can walk away with at least one or two new pieces of information, this meeting is successful for you.
Close the loop
Keep in touch after the meeting and deliver anything that you said would share to continue to develop your relationship. Send a simple email thanking them for their time and remind them of any opportunities or ideas that you discussed. The best scenario is that you are working to set up the next meeting to discuss the details of a new business engagement.
Do you feel like it was a successful meeting? Did you meet your goal? Is there a follow up conversation set on your calendar?
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