Coffee and Connect Networking Etiquette

I visit lots of groups and they all run in different ways so I thought it might be helpful to explain how Coffee and Connect works; but please don’t worry if you read this and think “oh dear I shouldn’t have done that”. I write these notes simply to be helpful as in my experience it is a lot easier if I explain how we run things rather than expecting you just to “know”!   

▪ First of all if you have never been to a Coffee and Connect meeting before please be assured we are all very friendly and if you go and say hello to people you don’t know you will be greeted with a smile and a genuine welcome.

▪ We have a table for putting out leaflets and business cards and of course if you are chatting to someone and want to swap cards that is great, but we don’t just go round with cards handing them out – we like to get to know each other first.

▪ When it comes to the thirty second introduction it is quite straightforward – just say who you are and what you do. I know some groups encourage you to say what you are looking for but we don’t do that – but don’t worry, if someone thinks they have a recommendation or useful contact for you they will tell you afterwards. We sit down when we do our introductions - we don’t stand up – and remember to speak up and smile!

 ▪ Testimonials – if you have used someone’s services and want to tell everyone how great they were then please mention it very briefly after they have done their introduction. (In a packed room of 45 people we do need to get round everyone in good time!)

▪ Something I do notice about the people that attend Coffee and Connect is that everyone really listens to all the introductions. No one ever chats to their neighbour or starts texting or checking their phone for messages.

▪ After the introductions please do stay and talk to people individually – now is the time to suggest useful contacts, make referrals, give more testimonials, talk to people whose services you might be interested in using etc.

▪ Don’t feel you need to go round “selling” your services – people will find you if they are interested – and if you sit back and observe, the people that everyone wants to talk to are always those who are focussed on giving advice and helping everyone else.

▪ Business Cards – I am sure I hardly need say this but please do not pick up everyone’s business cards and go home and add them to your mailing list without their permission. Aside from breaching data protection regulations it is far better to have had a small number of meaningful conversations with a few people and have obtained their permission to add them to your list rather than to spam everyone!

▪ After the meeting don’t forget to complete any actions that you promised – I always have to write these down – usually on the back of the individual’s business card; and if someone does help you out with a referral or an introduction please remember to say thank you.

But Coffee and Connect is really all about the people that attend – genuine, friendly professionals who are serious about their business but who like doing business with a smile.

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