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Coffee Shop Meetings Good For Business as well as Romance

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Business Meeting in Coffee Shops or Coffee Bars can be Great, here are Some Tips:

Asking for a coffee meeting is quite easy and in most cases, quite difficult to turn down. In coffee meetings, people converse; because there is no formality, this makes it appealing to many. A conversation is democratic, no single person holds the big stick; individuals are free to dialogue and express the real project issues or roadblocks. A conversation also gives people room to be creative and allows them to focus on issues that cannot be resolved in a conference room.

Formal meetings take a lot of time to organize. Once you attend, you will find that they are ‘too formal,’ filled with an overload of data-focused PowerPoint presentations with many slides. They tend to not resolve the main objective of a meeting, which is to make a decision and move forward. This approach tends usually to conclude towards an email tennis game.

A productive creative conversation takes place in a friendly place, such as a coffee shop. Benefits of the coffee meeting cannot be emphasized enough. This may sound surprising but there are actually fewer distractions than in quiet offices and boardrooms as they tend to be quite monotonous. Working from the same place every day is an enemy of creativity. A change of an environment brings new type of input and stimulation. A coffee shop brings that benefit of discussing the real issues and helps    stimulate positive activity with your project colleagues.

Human nature – under no condition should you gossip about another person on your project or in your company – I made this mistake once. There was a sales pitch for a software product about integrating to the companies enterprise software systems and being in production in less than a week. I repeated to my colleague ‘yeah right a bunch of empty promises’ at the Starbucks next to the office. I’m about 95% sure that the salesperson of the company, whom I did not see, was sitting right behind us and heard everything we said. I felt like crap for the remainder of the day. Simply do not do it. It just doesn’t pay to talk stick with facts and data. Nobody wins in this situation.

Human nature, the more you see your project members, the more you will like them and the more you can help each other –Don’t forget this project rule: The opinions other people have about you is their problem, not yours. The less you worry about what they think of you, the less complicated your project issues become. Do your job and always be humble.

I find that time-boxing your coffee meetings to 20 minutes and inform them of the agenda and the goal of the meeting is the most optimal coffee meeting. For a meeting with 4 colleagues make it 40 minutes.

Saying “Thank You” costs absolutely nothing. Human interactions are designed to do one thing: build relationships, and saying thank you targets gratitude towards your colleague.

Listen. Remember, the main reason you are having this chat in the coffee shop instead of the conference room is to learn something from the other person and move forward your project issues. Active listening!

Make it a good time. I like to do quick meetings in the morning to get me fired up, focus on your content and try to balance the talking time to 50/50.