Why coffee meetups are the hottest new networking trend
Networking is an essential part of business and coffee meetups offer a fast and effective way to build your network and grow your business.
Love it or loathe it, networking is an essential part of business. Research has found that people with good connections are often the most successful, and taking the time to build and nurture relationships can certainly have a positive impact on your business and career. After all, you never know who you’re going to meet and what opportunities it could lead to.
However, while the importance of networking is undeniable, the truth is that we all lead busy lives and don’t always have the time to attend traditional networking events. What’s more, depending on personality type, some people can find this kind of event awkward, uncomfortable, and even mentally draining. So, in a world where many of our relationships are conducted over social media how do we keep people interested in meeting face to face?
Alternative networking opportunities
A growing number of companies are tackling this issue by organising alternative networking opportunities, from trampolining tasters and pizza parties to volunteering for a local charity or good cause. This approach recognises that traditional networking methods are falling out of favour, with many people preferring a more relaxed style of social networking which requires ‘softer’ skills.
One of the newest and fastest growing trends in social networking is the ‘meetup’. Meetups involve getting together and chatting with like-minded people in an informal setting (usually over a coffee) and, although not as extreme as trampolining, they have proven to be hugely popular in certain sectors. They offer a relaxed, fast and effective way to network and it is a method that is being adopted by many organisations, particularly start-ups and those in the creative industries.
There are a number of reasons why coffee meetups work so well. Chatting with someone over a hot drink is a great way to break the ice. Most of us associate being in a coffee shop with relaxation, and introducing this atmosphere to a networking event helps to make for a more relaxed networking experience which, in turn can inspire creativity and spark some really useful conversations. There is even some evidence to suggest that drinking coffee can help to boost creativity.
Planning the perfect coffee meetup
If you’re planning to run your own coffee meetup there are a few things you need to consider to ensure your event is a success. It may sound simple but good coffee is key. If people are giving up their time to attend your meetup they want to feel that they are valued, and good quality coffee will encourage them to stay longer and will hopefully result in them coming along to your next event. If you are expecting a good number of attendees you might want to consider coffee bar rental; it gives you one less thing to think about and guarantees that your guests will be served good quality drinks.
No matter the event, people always appreciate being fed, so depending on the time of day, you might also want to provide nibbles. Pastries are perfect for a breakfast meet up while delicious cakes and brownies go down well at any time of day.
Most importantly, to keep people coming back each time you need to keep your meetup feeling fresh. There are a number of ways you can do this, including changing up the format, rotating venues, or inviting guest speakers. You might also want to have some strategies in place to facilitate introductions and help conversations to flow – especially for those people who are not natural networkers.
Networking as a business tool is not going away any time soon, but the way in which we do it is certainly evolving, and it seems that, done well, coffee meetups could have an important role to play in the future of business networking.