I’ve spent most of the past 2 years in the Washington, DC area. One observation about the region’s people baffles me: an unwillingness to meet for coffee despite the nearest coffee shop never being more than 5 blocks or 5 minutes away. Much can be gained from the casual coffee meeting.
I share this observation anytime someone asks about the differences between the Midwest and the Capital Region. Substitute lunch of any other quick treat for coffee if you’d like. The point is “why be so closed off to others?”
When I was a manager, I loved coffee and lunch meetings. They were great opportunities to share and learn from my managers. Likewise, these outings with my staff were productive as some became far more “open” outside the office. I also met with those I did not work with to build connections and learn about others’ work. It’s not about the coffee (or food), it’s about people. Sure, time is an important asset, but so are people.
I saw a commentary on LinkedIn yesterday from a woman who was proud to swear off coffee meetings. The post elicited so much negative feedback, she has since had to offer up a follow-up “correction” piece to better communicate her thoughts. While I’ve added both posts to my Favorites tab, I still don’t understand the “what’s in it for me” attitude. (please note: I’m not linking to these writings as my post is not meant to “flame” the author)
Hasn’t social media for business taught us the need to actually connect with people? I’m not saying you should give up hours and hours to listen to others’ drivel. I’m saying as we evolve in a social media-dominated world, shouldn’t we still seek face to face human connections?
As I said earlier, I don’t understand the constant refusal of invites to coffee and lunch. Regardless of how my pitch is delivered (by phone, email, social media), or the contents of the pitch, the response (when one is given) is always no. In fact, the statements below are actual responses from “professionals”.
While coffee meetings don’t directly contribute to the bottom line, they can yield benefits. They provide a starting point for potential partnerships. They allow those who have advanced in their career to give tips to those starting out. They can assist in job searches (for both parties). They can lead to an invaluable sharing of ideas. They help you learn what’s happening behind the scenes. If your coffee meetings don’t yield these things, maybe you’re not meeting the right people. Or asking the right questions.
The Bottom Line
I have always placed a great value on time. I also know time and hard work by themselves don’t equal results. You’re far more likely to succeed when being connected with others. So, why not get to it?
Homepage Featured Image: Cup Of Coffee. Image from Pixabay user NeuPaddy.