Coffee Meetings, Joe Girard, NetworkingI find a huge value in coffee meetings.  I really enjoy connecting with people, discussing ideas, and exploring opportunities. I know that much of my success has come from my openness to meet with new people, but more so in the relationships I cultivate.  But today, we are going to explore a bit of the dangers of ongoing coffee meetings…

I am always suggesting that you build your network and make new connections, but I read an article the other day by Wendy McLelland called Why I Say NO to Coffee Meetings.  It got me thinking a bit differently and made me do some more research.  I have a few other posts which I link below, that discuss the pros and cons.  Keep reading…

As I said, I love going for coffee and seeing where the opportunities may be.  Getting to know new people, catching up, or exploring ideas always gets me energized, but lately I have found myself getting increasingly too busy and having to say no.

Just say NO

Today I read an excellent post from Marie Forleo called 3 Ways to Say No to people Who Want to Pick Your Brain which actually gave me a lot of clarity on this and is definitely worth a read.  She refers mainly to people who want to get free advice and “pick your brain.”

Are you giving away too much to people who want to “pick your brain?”


Years ago, I remember reading in Jeffrey Gitomer’s book that every time someone asked to pick his brain and take them for lunch, he said, “Sure, that will be $500 AND lunch.”  (I handed him a cheque for $500 at an event shortly after, but that’s another story)

the more I thought about this the other day, the more I wanted to see what others thought and read this post: Why I don’t Do Coffee by Maynard Webb on Linked In.  

But Always Say YES

Now on the flip side, I am going to say that you should still build your network and get to know people around you, even if YOU are already a superstar, busy person.  But take ownership of your time and treat it with care.  You can always let people know you’re really busy and help them understand how to effectively communicate with you. Perhaps if you are feeling exceptionally guilty from turning them down, you can sign up to become a mentor.

But I still think that you should create a plan for yourself each week and schedule a certain number of connection coffees.  That way, you can explain to others your plan and that you are booked up if you go over budget.  And if they want to change their relationship to a paying client, you have a different schedule for that.  It is all about taking back control of your schedule.

I had an awesome coffee this morning with Aidan Henry who is doing some amazing things with Brink Events this year.  Exclusive, high-end parties and corporate events.  His vision is big and anyone looking to blow their staff away, HE is the guy to talk to.  Yacht parties, art galleries, airport hangars – just ballin stuff.  Here’s the point – when we went for coffee, there was no agenda other than to catch up and discuss some ideas.  And from that, there may be some cool opportunities for both of us.

So that is the real message.  YOU Must decide how you want to build your business.  Your way. But look at ALL the facts, Jack! It’s not about whether coffee appointments are good for you, but rather if you are getting the most out of your activities. 

Help people understand how best to work with you.  Give them options.  Say YES.  As Marie Forleo said,

“You still must be careful not to look like a D-Bag.”

50 Cup Strategy

Lastly, consider the advice given in the post How 50 Cups of Coffee can Change Your Life.  There is some great wisdom about expanding your network through 50 cups of coffee.  A focused process.  After reading that, I am considering doing a 50 day blog series with coffee appointments.  Hmmm… What do you think?

In my post Surround Yourself with People Way Smarter than You , I also talk about the power of growing your network and some things to keep in mind, like having a GIVER mentality.

And for some other ideas on what to do at your next coffee, check out these posts

Would love to hear your thoughts on this as well – post them in the comments below.

Joe Girard
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    5 replies to "Coffee Meetings: Are they Helping or Hurting You?"

    • Josephine

      Awesome advice!

    • Wendy McClelland

      Joe – thanks for the feedback on my article on LinkedIn and on mentioning me in yours. It seems this topic is quite the conversation starter! I think all successful people need to find the balance between giving away some of our resources to “pay it forward” and the financial bottom line.

      • Joe Girard

        Absolutely! It’s been actually quite hilarious since I created the post. People are now asking me permission to have coffees and are worried about the meaning behind it. And some even felt guilty and thought I was referring to them, since I just had coffee with them days before. I have had to assure everyone that I am still totally open to doing coffee meetings and sharing collaborative ideas. Coffees aren’t bad, we just need to make sure we are using our time effectively, that’s all. So thanks for being the catalyst for this discussion and getting me to re-evaluate some ideas. Also, love your site – we speak the same language for sure. Just got on your email list. We should keep in touch! Talk soon.

    • […] one is a bit tricky because we don’t want to get into endless coffee meetings, right? But there is a huge number of people out there who would prefer to buy from you if you just […]

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