Coffee, Conversation, Connection
By Debbie Bishop, Membership Director
At our February meeting we had a speaker who explained to us the different communication styles of people of different ages, from Boomers to Millennials, and it was very eye opening. I have heard about the Boomers and the Gen-X folks but I learned a lot about the Mellennials and their communication styles. They seem to mostly reach out electronically through email, LinkedIn, Facebook and texts. However in the business world when it comes to making friends and influencing people, Millennials need to change.
Networking is hard. But Millennials are making it way, way harder than it needs to be.
I meet young professionals at our luncheons and other networking events and I've become convinced that Generation Y--and many of the rest of us--can dramatically increase our networking success by changing just one thing.
It’s simple. It’s controversial. Some people say it doesn’t work.
In case this is not clear: by "coffee" I mean a low-commitment, non-alcoholic beverage (tea or soda can work too). By "have" I mean that you have to drink the coffee in the company of another human being, seated at the same table. "Having coffee" over Skype does not count. Sorry. In fact it is best if your phone, tablet or laptop is not part of the equation at all. You cannot make a lasting connection if you are constantly checking your status.
If you want any kind of assistance or advice, you need to have a conversation. If you're looking for a job, a client, or advise to grow your business, you don't know what you don't know. So you can't just ask a question, get the answer, and figure you're done. You need to have a conversation.
Electronics are horrible ways to network. We all have too many emails or notices on LinkedIn and email can never be personal. If you need a favor or introduction that can help you along the way, you are far more likely to get it from someone you know face to face. Would you rather do a favor for someone you know, or someone you never met?
O.K then, take some time and make some invites to coffee and connect.