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  • Jarrod

How To Network with Coffee Chats At Work

Updated: May 2

Picture this: your next coffee break could be the key to your next big career move. Career growth can often rely heavily on the relationships you have in the organisation but building these can be a full time job on-top of your existing job. One way, many organisations are building stronger relationships in through networking coffee chat programs. These coffee chats transform a simple cup of coffee into a goldmine of opportunities. Not only are these casual moments a break from the routine; they're a smart strategy to grow your network and boost your career. Ready to turn those sips into success? Let’s dive into how these relaxed meetings can open new doors professionally.

The Impact of Networking on Career Growth

Networking isn't just about exchanging business cards; it's about forging powerful relationships that can propel your career forward. In today's interconnected world, remember this: your network is your net worth. A strong network introduces you to new ideas, skills, and pivotal opportunities that are crucial for climbing the career ladder.

Preparing for a Networking Coffee Chat

Success starts with preparation. Before your coffee chat, take some time to learn about the person you're meeting by checking their LinkedIn profile. Look for recent accomplishments or mutual connections to find a common ground. Remember, it’s not about gathering facts for the sake of it—nobody wants to feel like they’re being stalked. Instead, focus on discovering genuine interests that spark curiosity, setting the stage for meaningful conversations.

Approaches During the Coffee Chat

  • Building Rapport: Begin with light, relatable topics to break the ice. Discuss shared interests or experiences to create a comfortable environment.

  • Exploring Opportunities: Let the conversation flow naturally into professional areas, such as industry trends or projects you’re passionate about. This should not be forced; much like a first date, the goal is to gauge mutual interest in a second meeting, not to secure a job offer.

  • Listening Actively: Pay close attention and show genuine interest. Active listening can foster a deeper connection and reveal insightful opportunities organically.

We've put together a handy set of suggestions for how to get the conversation going depending on what your situation is.

Case Study: Google’s Project Aristotle

Google's People Operations team has delved deep into team dynamics and productivity, discovering that the most productive employees often build larger networks by rotating dining companions. This insight from Project Aristotle underscores the value of informal interactions in fostering successful collaborations and innovations.

coffee chats can lead to relationships and networking opportunities | Dewdropz
Coffee chats can lead to mentoring and networking opportunities | Dewdropz

Implementing a Networking Coffee Chat Program at Your Workplace

Setting up a networking coffee chat program might seem daunting, but here’s how you can make it both effortless and effective:

  • Schedule Regularly: Establish regular slots for employees to sign up and meet someone new within the organization. This requires a bit of effort to get started and even more so to coordinate who gets matched with each other. If you have the time, setting this up manually can be beneficial before taking on a more structure approach using tool like Dewdropz(Microsoft Teams) or Donut(Slack).

  • Automate Reminders: Implement a system to send automatic reminders, ensuring participants are prepared and punctual.

  • Feedback and Adjustments: Continuously collect feedback to improve the experience and adapt to the needs and preferences of your team.

  • Champion the Effort: Many organisations start with the above but leave out one very important aspect, and that's to show support for the effort. This can be management participating or regularly pushing out these activities because of more "important" priorities. All of these are signals to the organisation that this is not something that matters and speaks volumes about the culture.

In Closing

Networking coffee chats are a strategic tool, not just for socializing but for unlocking significant career growth opportunities. They allow you to explore potential in a pressure-free environment and can dramatically enhance your professional journey.

If this sounds like something you would like to see at your company, start by organizing a networking coffee chat this week and see the difference firsthand. If you would like a a more scalable way to do this then the most effective way to build connections at work is to use an app like Dewdropz, you can start with the free trial through the Microsoft Teams store.

Sources and Additional Resources


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