First off, I need to make clear that I am not against meeting people for coffee or even drinking coffee. My issue is that I’ve learned that the offer to go get coffee usually means that somebody wants something from me. Whether it is time, money or to help them make a connection, an offer to grab a drink almost always has some ulterior motive behind it. You might think that I flat out don’t want to help others, but the real issue is the other opportunities that I have in front of me. I have a lot on my plate, so dedicating the time to a “quick” coffee meeting does not make much sense.
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Say no to getting coffee.
Hours spent in the office doing business are not the time to sit back, relax or socialize. I try to be as efficient, effective and statistically successful as possible during work hours (and beyond). The conventional offer of “getting coffee” is, in my opinion, one of the most frustrating offers that can be made. I rarely take anyone up on the offer to “do lunch” during work hours. Just consider the amount of time that it takes to get to and from a coffee or lunch meeting, and how much business could be done in that same time. Then, think about the inefficiencies of utilizing that time for things such as small talk, even before you get to the critical business issue.
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Have an objective in mind.
I have the objective to try and keep every phone call to a maximum of five minutes. When it comes to in-person meetings, I prefer them to take place at my office or overlapping other meetings I have outside the office, which I call “holding court.” Even then, I try to keep those meetings to 20 minutes long. This allows me to fit in as many meetings or calls as possible. So many people make the excuse that they are “doing business” and then leave the office to do unimportant things, or overlap their meetings around errands. Make no mistake, I’m not advising against meeting people in person. I’m saying take control of the business opportunity and have them come to you, or meet them somewhere convenient when you are outside of the office.
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No coffee, just grind.
The majority of lunch and coffee meetings that take place are nothing but an inefficient use of time. I would suggest not only rejecting such meetings during work hours, but to also stop asking for coffee meetings unless they’re absolutely necessary. How do you determine whether or not a meeting is necessary? Take a look at the reasons and impacts the meeting can have. If these outweigh the potential drawbacks of an in-person meeting, then it is acceptable to ask. Make sure that you focus on making efficiency a key principle when chasing your objectives. Stay focused in on critical business issues and you will find that focus will provide you with everything you desire in business and life.