Many people think that a coffee meeting is just an informal meeting. So wrong. Try and remember that every meeting is an opportunity to connect, grow, benefit, sell and build relationships.
These “informal” meetings can leave just as much as an impression (good or bad) as any formal event.
So I have some little rules to get you through your next coffee (but important) meeting:
I’ve talked about pet peeves previously and you might be hitting one of the most common annoying habits while enjoying your coffee…. almost 40% of professionals I have surveyed loathe the ‘tingle tingle’ noise some make while stirring their milk and sugar into their cups so try and remember this and do so silently. Once you have finished (silently) stirring remove your spoon and I’m going to ask something pretty big from you – put that spoon down! Don’t lick it and especially don’t eat the froth with it, ah I know it’s hard, we all know how delicious the froth is but it’s a no no so you will just have to hold off till you are alone with your coffee next time.
Once you have denied yourself the froth you will just have to sip your way through, from start to end. Be sure when you lift the cup that you do so with just one hand. Unless you are having an outdoor meeting in Alaska’s winter then you don’t need to keep warm by holding the cup with both hands in between sips.
Last coffee rule for the day, regardless of how scrumptious those biscuits are on the table; just because there are six biscuits on the plate does not mean you have to eat all six. Ask yourself why you are in the meeting, and there are very few jobs where you are actually in this meeting to eat biscuits. Sure treat yourself to one biscuit but of course that is after you offer them to everyone else at the table first.
The reason for all this is because sadly we are being judged, we each have ten thousand thoughts that go through our heads per day so surely some of those thoughts of your meeting partner will be about you and you want to minimise risk and try and make them good thoughts and have your client only concentrating on what you are offering in that meeting. You would like them to be thinking “Wow this person really knows their product – I’m impressed and I want in” rather than being distracted by your tingling.
Always remember you are your client’s experience of the company, you are the service and the product. How you act in your meetings, any meeting no matter how informal you may think it is, influences the way they perceive you and your company as a firm and its value.