While coffee meetings are extremely valuable in developing your career, it’s often difficult to get on someone’s calendar, better yet to even be noticed.
Why are coffee meetings useful? You get the opportunity to talk to someone who has:
- More experience
- The skills you want
- Walked the walk
They’ll have tons to share with you to help you carve out your path – as long as you’re smart about who you reach out to.
Now you just have to show them that you’re worth their time.
Let’s go step-by-step on how to network to get a coffee meeting using LinkedIn and Twitter.
1. Find someone you actually want to talk to.
Don’t just reach out to someone because they have a lot of followers on Twitter or because they built their own company and have a lot of money.
While you should do your best to meet new people, remember that your time is valuable too. Don’t waste time trying to get coffee with everyone.
If you’re looking for a job, look for people working at companies in your industry.
Take for example, when I was looking for a marketing job, I went on LinkedIn, went the jobs section, and filtered for the type of companies I wanted to work for.
Then I went through the resulting list of companies to see which ones I was interested in. If I was interested in the company, then I’d find the Founder or CEO of the company. If their LinkedIn profile was interesting, then I’d reach out to them.
Portfolium is also a great way to find people within your network to connect with and look at their work all in one place.
If you want to use Twitter to find people, again, start with following companies you may be interested in.
If I follow Sidekick on Twitter, I’m shown “similar accounts.” These people may not necessary work at Sidekick, but they’re somehow related. So I’ll click to their profiles, follow them, and continue looking at similar accounts.
The point here is to discover new people. (You can always unfollow them later.)
If someone catches your eye, dive deeper. Find their profile on LinkedIn or Portfolium, see if they have a personal website, see where they work, and so on.
So now that you’ve found some interesting people to reach out to …
2. Reach out on Twitter.
If you found the person through Twitter, that probably means they’re active. That’s a great first touch to get your name in front of them.
If you found the person through LinkedIn, you can find their Twitter profile by doing a Google search for: “First name + last name + twitter”
Example: “David Khim twitter”
This first touch can be as simple as following them, retweeting a tweet they’re mentioned in, or favoriting their tweets.
Or you can tweet at them. Here are two of mine that worked:
With Janet Aronica of Cube Riot:
@davidlykhim Hey! It’s so hard… I’m still figuring it out too. Glad an honest post on the subject helped. Cheers 🙂
— Janet Aronica (@JanetAronica) May 17, 2015
With Anum Hussain from Sidekick:
@anum honored to be followed by you! I’m going to send you an email later today about the sidekick growth team!
— David Ly Khim (@davidlykhim) March 26, 2015
Do not reach out on LinkedIn. People don’t check their inbox as often and your message will often go ignored or unnoticed.
Do not try to find their phone number. Who uses phones anymore? Most busy people don’t take phone calls.
3. Send them an email.
You can often find their email on their personal website or the company website. But, in case it’s a little more difficult, here’s a trick to find their email.
Writing networking emails is difficult which is why I’ve found networking email templates to be very helpful.
Here’s one that I sent to Janet:
Thanks a lot for responding to my tweets last week. I recently moved to Boston from Southern California to join Sidekick by HubSpot as a content marketer.
I was hoping to connect with you because you have an interesting marketing background that I’d love to learn more about. Maybe I can potentially lend a hand to one of your projects somewhere along the line!
I remember coming across Cube Riot a few months back and recently came across your blog then connected the two together. Btw, I really enjoy both your personal blog content and the Cube Riot content.
You mentioned you’re busy up until 6/10. I’ll be out of town from 6/10 to 6/16.
How does 6/20 or 6/27 at noon sound for coffee at Bourbon Coffee at Porter Square?
If that date/time/location doesn’t work for you, I’m willing to work around your schedule!
And another example I sent that eventually got me a job without any interviews or applications:
David Ly Khim here. I found you while doing a search on Twitter about startups and marketing and I ended up on singlegrain.com and growtheverywhere.com
I’ve been following your work and I found the 8 Online Marketing Tactics extremely useful. I knew of the skyscraping, Facebook lookalike audiences, and SEO tactics beforehand and it’s awesome that I’ve learned 5 new tactics.
Your skill set is essentially what I hope to develop and I’d like to talk to you about any advice you may have about breaking into the tech startup scene as a digital marketer.
Are you up for a 30 minute coffee meeting sometime next week at the Starbucks on San Vicente in Brentwood? I’m available Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11-2 each day. Hope to hear from you!
The emails above accomplish five important things:
- Creates familiarity and context.
- Compliments her work.
- Explains how I found her.
- Provides a specific ask for coffee.
- Gives specific dates and times.
If the person does not respond, remember to send a follow up email in a few days.
Once you get that coffee meeting scheduled, make sure to do your research and prepare in advance!
Networking shouldn’t be a chore.
Networking doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be exciting to find people that you want to talk to and be aware that you can grab coffee and speak with them. Remember, your time is valuable and you shouldn’t waste it, just like how you shouldn’t waste their time.
When done well, coffee meetings can further accelerate your personal and professional growth.
Who do you plan on grabbing coffee with?