Networking and keeping in touch with clients, contacts, colleagues and customers can be essential in many lines of work. Coffee dates can be a great way to maintaining contact and can be a great way to follow-up initial contact at a networking event.
If they are local it is slightly easier to find a mutually convenient location and if they are further afield you should try and set up a virtual coffee date instead.
How often you should touch base depends on the contact and how often face to face contact is necessary – but unless business requires more frequent meet-ups every six months or yearly coffee dates are usually sufficient provided contact is maintained through electronic means.
I often find that a lot of time can pass between the initial suggestion of a coffee date and the actual coffee date. This can be frustrating so I try to manage my coffee dates using my planner and have a special printable included in the planner section of my career planner. This printable is available to premium content subscribers as part of this week’s prompt.
If you are struggling to synchronise diaries sometimes a Virtual Coffee Date can be just as beneficial as the real thing.
Set up a Virtual Coffee Date Instead
I find that a lot of my contacts are in London and I don’t get to visit London often enough to set up coffee dates (or drinks or lunch) with everyone I would like to keep in contact with. The Solution? I sometimes set up Virtual Coffee Dates instead. This is simply where I arrange a time for a chat with a contact on the phone/skype but we arrange a mutually convient time and each of us will have a fresh cup of coffee (usually from my local coffee shop).
While this won’t work for all contacts and admittedly face to face contact is better a virtual coffee date can keep the connection fresh without waiting until that moment when your diaries match 8 months down the line.
The other benefits are of course that there is no travel time for a virtual coffee date and 20 minutes or less of phone networking can be a better use of your time that other procrastinating activities.
PROMPT: REVIEW YOUR CONTACT LIST AND PICK THREE PEOPLE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN MEANING TO CATCH UP WITH AND GET SOMETHING IN THE DIARY OVER THE NEXT THREE MONTHS