If you don’t communicate quickly in a manner that is compelling…

the rest of what you say doesn’t get heard.

You meet another business professional. Or, someone calls you based on a referral and the conversation sometimes goes to, “Hey, let’s meet for coffee” or “Let’s schedule a 1-2-1” (a familiar refrain from those who have been a part of BNI).

So, do you have these types of conversations?

What gets you there and are you excited about or bothered with having to meet someone for a cup of coffee? And, if you’re there, how soon are you wishing to end the get together and get back to work?

Coffee meetings, networking meetings, business meetings, etc. It’s sort of like dating, isn’t it? That immediate impression, does it stick, do you want to hear more? Do you like what you’re hearing? Can you help each other? Or, is it a waste of time?

A good cup of jo

From Jerry Seinfeld, that whole description of “why it’s great to meet someone for a cup of coffee? The ease, the simplicity, the compactness. And that it also obviously gets people talking. You have coffee and for some reason it makes you talk a lot.”

There are a few good coffee quotes, one from comedian Lewis Black. “I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake.” From Howard Shultz, who, as expected but still very tangible, said, “I was taken by the power that savoring a simple cup of coffee can have to connect people and create a community.”

But, with the good comes the not-so-good part of coffee meetings:

– It’s usually not billable time – It could lead to something, but that half or full hour may not amount to anything or go anywhere.
– You give away too much of your precious secret sauces – The person you’re meeting is seeking way more than simple advise and considerations.
– It’s a sales pitch, not a conversation – We all want the meeting to go somewhere that can lead to something greater, but if the other person sees it as a sales pitch, your interest wanes quickly.
– That phone interrupter – The other party keeps the screen side up, glances occasionally at it, and may even pick it up to answer a text or take a call and while always with an apology, it still interrupts the conversation.

Getting the audience engaged at the start

Coffee meetings, network meetings, business meetings there are a number of articles with an array of best practices in how meetings like these can become very productive. One article, 10 Tips for an Awesome Coffee Meeting, talks about being clear, having a purpose, showing up on time, having one specific ask, and taking notes. Another interesting read references a number of technology solutions to manage the time you might be willing to devote to coffee meetings.

Here are a few thoughts, and if you’ve read a few of our other blogs about getting the other person, people or audience engaged at the start, you know what will come next. It’s that our thinking is all about getting the audience engaged at the start of the conversation.

– Give yourself 60-seconds to state the meetings purpose. 60-seconds, no more.
– Think single-minded as most people can only hear one message at a time.
– Think of this as a blog headline or subject line on an email blast. You want people to read your blog or open your email and you do that with a strong or provocative headline. Do the same for your meeting.
– Newscasters give you a hint of what’s to come at the 10 pm news. Hosts on sports or news radio tease the audience on what to expect after the commercial break. Do the same for your meeting.
– Create intrigue. Use humor, if helpful. Bold statements stated with confidence.
– Know your audience, know their goals, priorities, and the key issues they have and talk to them on their terms with words, phrases and content that they can identify with vs. what you think they should hear.
– Prepare and practice this opening. Don’t say something on the fly and expect it to resonate.

If you do communicate quickly in a manner that is compelling then the rest of what you’re trying to accomplish will get heard.

For help with this short-form messaging, reach out to us.