How to Prepare for a Coffee Chat
Virginia Morrow
how to prepare for a coffee chat

Coffee chats are a great way to network, make connections, and build relationships. They can be a valuable tool for entrepreneurs, job seekers, and beginners alike. But in order to make the most out of your conversation, it is important to prepare ahead of time. In this article, we will discuss why preparation matters for a coffee chat, what you should do to get ready, and how you can ensure that you make the best impression possible during your chat. 

What is a Coffee Chat?

Before we can explore the various strategies of preparation, it is important to understand the what and why of a coffee chat. The idea is that over coffee, two people have an opportunity to casually meet and chat, learning more about each other and forming professional relationships. This informal setting allows both parties to gain a better understanding of each other’s career paths and goals. This is a very useful tool when it comes to networking, defined by Indeed as the act of maintaining positive relationships with clients and other professionals. Ultimately, these conversations often create connections that last down the road and prove valuable.

Why Preparation Matters

Just like everything in the business world, the way you handle yourself during a coffee chat will impact the potential outcomes you can gain. If you want to get the most out of the short time you have, researching the person you are talking to allows you to start at a higher level. Instead of wasting twenty minutes learning the basics of where they went to school, what their career path includes, and the different job titles they have held, find all of that information before you go, and focus your questions on the things you really want to know: how did you make than transition, what was challenging in this role, what had the most impact on your experience there? Beyond being more prepared to learn more, demonstrating knowledge about your coffee chat partner will also impress them and give them a good impression. Research comes across as hardworking, and shows that you value the experience and made the time worth it for both parties.

How You Can Do It

With the presence of the internet, you can find more information in seconds than ever before. If you are meeting with someone previously established in the professional world, they are likely cited on a company website, and if not, LinkedIn is a great resource for this purpose. If someone has set up a page, you can easily navigate their educational and professional experience, see their interests and subscriptions, and even find new people to connect with and set up coffee chats with. Another good way to learn about someone is to track their online presence on social media. Many people use Twitter and Facebook to publicly share anecdotes and links that excite them. Being able to reference and inquire about a person’s interests and connect them to your own is a good way to connect with someone. Finally, an important part of preparation means showing up early. Whether you are meeting in person or online, having a few minutes before the other person arrives to clear your mind and set your intention allows you to gain more from each interaction. When you arrive early, you show that you care about the meeting, and you are proactive about being the kind of person to be on top of things. You never know, this kind of behavior may be the thing that lands you a job interview, or makes the other person want to invest in your success.

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