Have you heard of the 50 coffee meetings challenge?
The premise is simple: meet with 50 people and talk about something you are exploring. It might be a new city, your professional journey or your next personal adventure. Let your imagination run free in thinking about what to explore.
By meeting with a range of different people you will explore perspectives you haven't thought of previously. Added bonus: you’ll meet some really interesting people!
This is what networking is about. It’s not about having the most LinkedIn contacts, or the most business cards – it’s about building personal relationships. And then using those relationships to genuinely and curiously explore new and interesting things.
One interesting twist I recently heard on this concept was the coffee lucky dip where you are randomly allocated someone to have a coffee with.
Some of you might remember that I facilitated a coffee catch-up lucky dip in 2016. More than 100 people were matched up for coffee, and the feedback from participants was fabulous. Here's what one participant said: "What a brilliant initiative. We had an amazing conversation, and it was so fortuitous that we found ourselves able to explore something from a different perspective, with different eyes but coming from a place of great honesty and openness. I know it has provoked my thinking, and potentially sent me on a new direction. Well done - and thank you.". You can read more about it here.
It was so popular, I thought I'd do it again. So, to kick off 2017, I’m hosting another coffee lucky dip. And that’s where you come in.
If you are you interested in meeting new people and exploring interesting ideas, send me an email and I’ll put you in the coffee catch-up lucky dip. I’ll put all the names in a lucky dip and then send you an email introducing you to your coffee partner. If you were in the 2016 lucky dip, you can do it again - just let me know who you were matched with so I don't make the same matches again. Don't worry if you don't have anything in mind to explore - your coffee buddy might and you can help by being their thinking partner!
Go on. What a great way to start 2017 – exploring new ideas and adventures with a new connection. You never know what you might learn.
Some tips for new players:
Generally, when inviting someone for a coffee, you pay, although in coffee lucky dip you are welcome to each pay your own way.
Whilst you are asking them for their insights, also offer any help you can (“is there anything I can do to help you? Is there anyone I can introduce you to?").
Be on time; don’t take up too much of their time. Thirty to forty-five minutes is ideal.
Listen well; be curious.
Say thank you
I look forward to hearing from you and how your introductions go!
PS: You don’t have to drink coffee - I don't - yet I spend a lot of my time "catching up for a coffee"!