We live in a wired, hyper-connected world. My network knows I’m a social-business enthusiast. But I was a networking enthusiast years before social media and I’m the first to admit that this media will always lack the true core of being “social” – time spent in-person with a real human being.
“We should grab coffee” is a century-old phrase uttered by business professionals around the globe in every language. It’s evolution has arrived, enter Ten Thousand Coffees.
Ten Thousand Coffees was instantly noticed by the national media and has some heavy hitters registered as experts. The President of Twitter Canada, CMO of McDonalds and astronaut Chris Hadfield to name a few. But what’s awesome is that it’s about all of us, you and me and the next generation too.
Last week I embarked on my first meeting through this amazing platform. A young professional named Camille reached out to learn more about the world of nonprofit which I have worked in for over a decade. We met and talked ( these days I take my coffee to go and network while walking ). It was a great talk, I was happy to dispel more than few myths about ‘saving the world’ and saved her some time and effort on her career journey. Camille, a 2nd year university student shared it was daunting to reach get that first meeting before Ten Thousand Coffees. We certainly would never have met each other any other way and not many people can just jump into face to face networking.
I agreed that cold calling isn’t a great idea and that investing in long-term networking is important. I shared why you need to start networking before you ‘need’ a job , some secrets of mine about how to conduct a great coffee meeting and the reminder of course, that it’s certainly not about the coffee or the food.
My most-read post of this blog ever is about how to create your own personal board of directors. It is about the benefits of being a mentor and having mentors, that you can be both at once. I would encourage people singing up with Ten Thousand Coffees to do both, be a mentor to propel someone forward and reach out ahead to meet with someone who can pull you forward too.
Are you an introvert? Many of the world’s smartest professionals are! International expert Susan Cain reminds us that networking en-masse at conferences and industry events isn’t just unhelpful to introverts, it’s unhelpful to most business professionals. One on one connections is how business gets done. If you haven’t read her book or watched her TED Talk, check out these many resources from her if you’re someone who identifies as part of the ‘thinking-class’.
This truly is an evolution in networking, bridging the best of the digital world with purposeful human connecting. Camille and I had a great walk, I’m going to open some doors for her, we’re going to keep in touch.
One coffee down, 9999 to go. Join me would you?
Thanks for reading…. Paul Nazareth