Networking 101: 10 Ways You Can MAXIMIZE Your Coffee Meetings!

Looking to build new relationships or maybe even rekindle old ones? Coffee meetings provide you with 30 minutes of dedicated face-to-face time in a casual environment. Think about it, your next opportunity could really come from a $5 coffee meeting. Follow these tips to MAXIMIZE your meeting time!

1. Be clear when asking for the meeting. — Give some scheduling options, find a neutral location, and be forthcoming with your purpose of asking. No one wants to be blind-sighted.

2. Do your homework — what is this person working on? Recent articles? Hobbies? These are great ways to show the other person that you are interested in the things they care about. This can make for a great icebreaker.

3. Avoid high traffic times — Running late is unacceptable and loud coffee shops can be distracting. Even worse? No place to sit! It's probably not best to choose the most popping Starbucks location, maybe seek out a mom and pop coffee franchise with ample seating instead.

4. You ask for the meeting, you pay. — Always. This is non-negotiable unless the other person insists. Not to add pressure, but this is just good ol' etiquette. If you request someone's time, you should always offer to pick up the check.

5. Don’t give away too much information. — Remember, it’s a casual coffee. Not a formal pitch meeting.

Be careful not to overdo it. This is not the place for a full PowerPoint presentation or 30-page brief. Keep it light and make sure you don't give too much away.

6. Have one clear, specific ask.— Get to the purpose of the meeting request. Don't think of it in a bad way. Your ask could be something as simple as asking them to attend your upcoming networking event or even to share advice or an industry topic. Whatever your "ask" is, keep it in mind, but do not lead with it.

7. Bring something to the table! -- Especially if this is a new connection, think about what you have to offer. Building a mutual relationship means being willing to GIVE as well as receive. Reciprocity all 2020 and beyond, sis. Bringing something to the table shows value, and of course, you want to bring value to every situation.

8. Take notes and give two ACTIONABLE next steps that you CAN do. -- Keep it simple, let the person you're meeting now when you'll circle back, send them a thing, etc -- let them know what's next before they leave.

9. Follow-up! Most people lose connections because of their inability to follow-up and follow-through. Always send a thank-you note, it doesn't have to be super formal, but it should be intentional. If you closed the deal, send a little gift.

10. Be yourself always-- show up as your AUTHENTIC SELF!

Building and maintaining relationships can be a lot to manage. The goal is to find a mutual ground between you and the other person. It may or may not be coffee meetings -- just do whatever works. If you meet for a walk, cocktail, breakfast, hike -- it doesn't matter really, just share space with intention.

Let us know how those meetings go!

Excited to see you THRIVE!