Coffee…the second most traded commodity on the planet, is the lifeblood of most business people. At goBRANDgo, we brew it, talk about it, walk up the street for it, even hold meetings over it.
I’d like to focus the rest of this commentary on that last part, holding meetings over coffee. A coffee house is the ever increasingly common place to meet up with clients, prospects, networking friends and even personal contacts. I’ve found that the coffee house setting is great for meetings for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, it disarms both parties because it’s neutral ground. Moods don’t get too heightened or aggressive; the atmosphere keeps things calm and cordial. The basic idea behind sharing a cup or two is very friendly.
Picking the right coffee house is a little daunting for some. My advice is to do a little exploring on your weekends or evenings. The more great shops you know about, the better the chance you’ll know just the right spot for that important meeting. Get to know the owners, managers, baristas. They’ll help you pick a great cup if your prospect isn’t a coffee person, and you’ll look like a hero.
Etiquette is important when it comes to these meetings. Make sure you adhere to the following if possible:
- Show up early and scout out a good table. Look for power outlets, quiet corners, and avoid AC vents if you can.
- Send a confirmation text or e-mail and include a candid picture so your guests can find you easily.
- Offer to buy them a beverage or pastry. I love this because it’s an inexpensive way to treat your client/prospect and make an impression.
- Adhere to the rules of the shop; don’t occupy a table for hours on end if they are busy.
- Thank the owner or manager on your way out the door.
Winding down your meeting is important. Make sure you offer your business card and contact information. Offer to refill their cup before they leave (typically free).
My last piece of advice is a little obvious, but use the restroom before you leave. Caffeine is a diuretic, and will dehydrate you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to use the bathroom within two minutes of getting my car to leave.
So call someone up, ask them to have a cup, suggest a great shop, follow the rules, and enjoy a great meeting.