(Particularly if you are in academia and not business)?
There is likely a lot less difference between going for coffee whether you are in academia or business, then you think there is. Your approach should be professional in either instance.
Going for coffee is an opportunity to get to know the other person. The objective is to find if you share common interests and if there is any opportunity to collaborate on a project or serve as a resource for each other. If you were in business, it may lead to a joint venture.
Come prepared to talk about subjects that interest you, both in your career and your private life.
I’ve been on a lot of ‘coffee chats.’ A lot of business is conducted in local coffee shops in my community.
From my personal experience, plan for 60 minutes for your coffee meeting. I find in that time both of you should have a better understanding of each other. If you resonate with each other, plan for a follow-up coffee meeting.
At the 75-to-90-minute marks, I find the conversation dragging and get uncomfortable.
To be considered an exceptional conversationalist, ask meaningful questions of the other person, and listen twice as much as you talk. When you give your conversational partner your undivided attention to listening to their favorite topic i.e., themselves, they will think you are a good listener and are likely to be open to you.
For further discussion of business & personal networking, visit the Live For Excellence Book Store for the following publications:
52 Power Networking Tips: How to Network Like a Pro
Blow Your Own Horn! Personal Branding for Business Professionals
You’re Hired! Leveraging Your Network: Job Search Strategies That Work
Power Networking For Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro
Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.