Making the most of a coffee catch-up

I’ve been thinking a lot about coffee catch-ups recently. The “coffee lucky dip” resulted in more than 50 networking pairs. It’s been great fun and I am just starting to hear back from people about their catch-up. You can read more here if you want to know about how they are going. Good networking is like good coffee*: flavourful, complex and definitely not bitter. How can you make sure you are getting the good stuff and not just Nescafe? Here’s four tips to help you along your way Plan:

  • What do you need to explore? What is the issue and outcome sought?

  • Who would be good to talk to? Who are you going to talk to?

  • What are you going to talk about?

  • Why are you even doing this? Why is it important to you? Why is it of interest to your coffee buddy? (check our Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” for some tips on this).


  • Listen

  • One on one is best, particularly if you have an “ask”

  • Be personal – build trust – share something of yourself

  • Tell a story – not just facts and figures

  • Don’t be afraid of the silence – it’s thinking time


  • Be clear from the start that there IS an ask.

  • Problem/Solution/Action: “So the problem is ….., and I think a solution might be …. so what I’m asking you do do is …”

  • Be specific in the ask

  • Be clear that you are not fussed if they don’t say yes – and then don’t be if you get a knock-back


  • Summarise what you’ve talked about

  • Say thank you!

  • If you have promised to do something, do it (or at least explain why you haven’t)

  • Follow up

Want more? Watch my recent webinar with the Centre for Workplace Leadership at Melbourne University. What are you tips for what makes a good networking coffee catch up? Get in touch and let me know - I’d love to hear from you. *The irony here is that I don’t actually drink coffee, so I hope I have managed to describe a good one!

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