The Epic Coffee Quest: Part II

coffee quest ii | kourtney thomas choice discovery

In my last post, I talked about why one might want to have a series of coffee dates. In a nutshell, it should have something to do with building relationships from a place of genuine connection, not with networking for business opportunities. Once you’re truly in that space, you can start to think about how one might have a series of coffee dates.

When I started this quest to meet awesome women a few months ago, I didn’t know exactly how it was going to turn out. I also wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to go about it. But I learned that quickly, and in an effort to help you on your way to building an incredible community of incredible women, I want to share my process and set you up to hit the ground running.

How to Have a Successful Epic Coffee Quest in 10 Steps

1 – Make a list of people in your current network you’d like to reconnect with.

This is key. We are all guilty of getting into that place where we think we’re fostering relationships by just scrolling and liking people’s social media feeds constantly, but only seeing our local folks once a year. Making a date to catch up over coffee, lunch, or tea and really reconnect is an excellent use of your time.

When you do this, put it out there that you’re interested in meeting some new women. Just cool people who might share common interests. In most cases, your friends and current network will have other friends and networks that fit this bill. Ask for an introduction, and continue growing your circle.

2 – Make a list of people in your community who you see as interesting, inspiring, motivating, making an impact.

Sometimes, this part can be intimidating. Interestingly enough, these women who seem like they’re at the top and totally untouchable, are completely not. In my experience so far, they’re wonderful and as accessible as anyone else. In fact, many of these women I’ve met so far have been enthusiastic about connecting, supportive of my quest, and helpful in furthering even more connections.

Once you make your list of these influential women in your community, compare it to your current network. Look for associations and spiderwebs that might link you from one person to another. Think of it like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. How can you find an introduction to these people with the resources you already have?

3 – Combining these two things, ask for mutual introductions.

This is the single most impactful thing in the success of my quest to meet incredible women. Every time I find someone I’d like to meet, I do some digging and then ask someone who is personally connected to them already to make an e-intro. This method has led to a 90% response rate in actually setting meetings.

It is still worthwhile to send out cold emails or messages. I have received several positive responses in doing this. However, not nearly as many, or as enthusiastically, as when I have had a mutual connection make an introduction.

4 – Put it out there.

With every person you talk to, in these meetings or not, talk about what you’re doing. Just say something like, “Yeah, I’m doing this cool thing where I’m just trying to meet as many cool women doing cool things as I possibly can!” Often, people will respond to this and offer some ideas. That will continue to open you up to new people and opportunities to meet with them. Then, repeat Step #3.

5 – Make the ask, intelligently and intentionally.

To reiterate, make sure you know your why here. That should come through when you reach out. Whether it’s in a message, an email, or in person, create a bit of a script that gets the message across succinctly, but sincerely. Mine looks a little like this:

Hi {Awesome Person}!

To follow up on my earlier email with {Other Awesome Person Who Connected Us}, I’m really excited for the opportunity to connect with you! She has had nothing but amazing things to say about you and what you’re doing, and upon checking out your bio and background, I would love to learn more about you and what you have going on.

 Quick background about me: I am all about helping women live bigger and more fully in their bodies and lives. I’m a women’s empowerment coach and personal trainer, working with women using a comprehensive approach to overall health, well-being, and success – on their terms. I’ve been in STL on and off since 2008, and having recently moved back again, I’m looking to strengthen my community of amazing women doing incredible things.

 I’d love to get together for coffee or lunch or whatever works for you in the next few weeks. My schedule is fairly flexible, so please let me know your availability and hopefully we can make something work soon. Looking forward to meeting with you!

 Thanks so much,

Kourtney

Notice, there is absolutely ZERO mention of “I’d love to pick your brain” or “I’m doing this thing and think you might be interested” or anything of the like. These are very important phrases to avoid. Again: if you feel tempted to add something along those lines, or feel in your gut that it’s going to be a waste of your time to meet in this way, go back to the previous post, do some reflecting, and wait to start your project till you’re ready.

6 – Be patient.

Sometimes people will respond right away, sometimes they won’t. This is probably going to be a lower priority thing for a lot of people, so don’t expect an immediate response. In some cases, you might not get one at all, and that’s OK too. You can always reach out again at another time – you never know what people have going on at a given time, and what might slip through the cracks.

7 – Be realistic.

I’ve been able to schedule at least one coffee date per day, every weekday. Some days, I can fit in two. That may be something you can do, or it may be way too much for your schedule. Take an honest look and determine how many meetings you can set up per week, and shoot for that. You don’t want to push the schedule too much and then have to contact people to cancel or reschedule. And when you decide how you’ll go about the scheduling, don’t be afraid to set things up way in advance either.

8 – Open up.

People are going to say yes to meeting with you expecting an actual conversation. So, come prepared, and be ready to do better than, “So, what exactly do you do?” Listen first, of course, but also be willing and open to talk about yourself and what you have going on. Ask good, quality questions to start the conversation, but provide open and honest answers to your date’s questions too – don’t hold back. The point is to connect on a personal level with this person, and that involves sharing some personal details and seeing where the conversation goes.

9 – Allow plenty of time, but be respectful of it too.

I generally assume a coffee/tea meeting will last around an hour. However, I quickly learned to leave myself at least two hours. If you have a genuine connection with someone, you’ll be shocked at how the time flies by, and before you know it, your morning has turned into lunchtime. And when the other person feels the same connection with you, they’ll be willing to spend a big chunk of time too. You don’t want to feel rushed, or like you have to cut the other person off in order to get to your next meeting or pick up a kiddo or whatever. Allow the conversation to flow, open up as noted in Step #7, and you’ll likely come to a natural closure whenever it’s right.

Flip side, be respectful of the other person’s time. Learn to pick up on cues that they need to go, and know when to stop asking questions and talking.

10 – Enjoy.

Yeah, that’s it. This is supposed to be fun, exciting, energizing, enjoyable. You get out of it what you put in, and it shouldn’t be a stressor.

There you have it! A blueprint for beginning to build quality relationships and expanding your community circle of women. I hope it’s useful – I know it has been for me.

When I think about how it’s all gone for me in the last few months, I didn’t know it would be half as impactful as it has been, but I’m certainly glad it turned out that way. Really, I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, connecting with other women in person, every day, is so powerful! I wish every woman everywhere, in every community, can experience this feeling.

Here’s to the Epic Coffee Quest!


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