Scheduling a casual business meeting or creative work session over a cup of coffee is a great way to change your environment and enjoy a boost of caffeinated energy while getting things done. Few business professionals can take a couple of hours out of their busy day to linger over a meal when their office is burning with business. Meeting at a local coffee shop, for 20 minutes to half an hour for a business coffee, gets the job done and takes the time crunched pressure off of you both. It’s also a great ice breaker for those that want to build a relationship. Of course, you’ll want to be mindful of when it’s appropriate to meet at a bustling café.
Do consider your office culture. If you work in a shared workspace environment with designated creative spaces for solo work and a change of pace, chances are good your supervisor won’t mind if you take your afternoon brainstorming session over to the coffee shop around the corner. Make sure to let your coworkers and assistant know you have left, and what time you will return.
Do take the other person’s location into consideration. When inviting someone for coffee, make it close and convenient. A quick drive or walk to the coffee shop makes the meeting easy and less stressful.
Don’t limit your meeting to a coffee shop. There may be a local deli, or bakery nearby. The idea is to get out of your work environment but still conduct business.
Do use your best judgment. A casual meeting may be fine at Starbucks, but if you have a big presentation to deliver, you want to have as much control over your space as possible (with plenty of time to set the stage). A noisy room with the hustle and bustle of people creates a distraction and the potential risk of spills.
Don’t overlook the opportunity for a budget-friendly networking option. If you’re a young executive, looking to expand your professional circle, and your funds are limited, an invitation to coffee is often a great option. With busy schedules in mind, a cup of coffee is a perfect alternative to the more expensive lunch.
Do bring your wallet. If you scheduled the coffee meet-up, it’s your responsibility to cover the cost of your guest’s drink (plus a tip for the helpful barista).
Do grab-n-go. If you’re on your way to meet with a client and know you’ll be passing by her favorite coffee shop, offer to grab her favorite mocha latte “to go”. It’s a thoughtful gesture that will be remembered and appreciated long after your meeting has come to an end.
Do support your local coffee shop over the national chains. Getting friendly with a neighborhood proprietor is a good way to establish rapport with someone who will offer you special attention when meeting with clients. Smaller shops tend to offer more personalized attention and you can make special requests when the opportunity presents itself.
Do use the coffee shop as a possibility for a small event. Rather than having a business luncheon catered, do the same with the local coffee shop. It’s more economical and a perk that your committee will look forward to.
Don’t overlook the importance of a thoughtful gesture. You might consider dropping off a thermos of coffee and a box of power bars to your client on your way to the office. Here are a few recipes to get you started: