The deeper we get into the technology age, the more enamored I am becoming with the 20 minute meeting over a fresh cup of coffee.
Email has, in large part replaced the telephone as the method most preferred by business people to contact clients and perform some after networking activities. It is quick, it is recorded and saved in your email file and can be done at any hour of the day. Sure, it sounds great, except for the fact that I have to wait for a response, possibly lose the response to my junk mail box, and almost certainly will have to go back and forth a couple of times in order to ensure the information is accurate and confirmed.
A meeting over coffee (or latte, or super juice or whatever your drink of choice) allows a relationship to advance through the various stages in a relaxing environment with no pressure. A nice spot away from the office with a face to face meeting is essential in breaking down barriers to communication that exist in other modes of contact. I’m not advocating setting up an office on wheels in your local establishment, just a simple get together once or twice a week with clients, networking acquaintances, suppliers or even a co-worker.
A study conducted in 2005 , which was focused on examining the relationship between caffeine and ‘social’ processes, “found that coffee increases mental alertness, focus and concentration. This heightening of mental capacity allows people to open up, process and understand the ideas being discussed during a coffee meeting.” The study also went on to find that drinking coffee makes a person more open to new ideas and persuasion.
If I have a choice between spending 20 minutes or so face to face with a person, in a relaxed atmosphere, where they are more open to new ideas and have greater mental alertness, or speaking into a cell phone from my parked car with traffic and distractions all around me, or sending an e-mail to a person who may not give it any consideration or misunderstand my intentions in sending it, the choice is simple. Technology has certainly made it easier to reach people, but certainly not to communicate in the true sense of the word.
Relationships are built on trust and understanding. When I am unable to read the body language and clearly identify the tone, the rhythm of speech and the volume of the voice, I am missing over 90% of the real communication. The call to action is to use one of those “other” tools to set up a coffee meeting today. No excuses! See the difference a little shared time can make.
I’ll have a double double and a dutchie!