Death Of Coffee Meetings

So today, I am writing about something very relevant to today’s scenario that we are all going through; dealing with COVID-19 and the lockdown of regular work routine. For somebody like me; who believes in one-on-one contacts, who thrives in talking to people face-to-face, who believes in going up and talking to people and trying to get the energy from people right, this was a huge change in scenery.

Whether it be working from home, remotely, not working, or managing our personalities in self-isolation, this process looked like a daunting task to a lot of us. Those challenges get ten-fold tougher if you are somebody who is currently seeking a job. In the North American job market, networking is perhaps the most critical piece, and coffee chats are one of the staples of networking methodologies. With the emergence, and continuing presence of COVID-19, in came the death of coffee chats, and in the following text, I will go over a few strategies on how we can replace the coffee chat and continue networking:

The Good News

  1. Most of us are working from home.
    1. This means while people are still busy with work, aspects such as commute times which earlier took up to two-three hours are being saved every day.
    2. You need to capitalize on this golden period of free time and reach out & network.

How To Reach Out:

  1. Create A Structure
    1. Create a list of whom you are trying to reach out to, why you are trying to reach out to them, and then set up an itinerary to schedule dates & times.
    2. For example, If there is a colleague in a department with whom you are not talking as frequently, put in a placeholder for a weekly or biweekly meeting with him.
    3. Structuring and scheduling your networking is key in a post-pandemic market.
  2. Make Use Of Technology
    1. While you may be at home; with a working internet connection and a laptop, coffee chat opportunities are at your disposal.
    2. Make use of Linkedin, but the best opportunities lie in the audiovisual mediums whether it be Facetime, Zoom, or Google Meet. 
    3. Using technology as a facet for networking opportunities creates a virtual coffee chat, which gets you that face to face interaction.
  3. A Management Perspective
    1. If you are a team leader struggling to make the most of the current climate, and communication; you need to integrate structure and technology with communication.
    2. An efficient way to do this is by having a half-hour exchange session every morning at the morning meeting. I have personally been using that time to bring the entire team together, have an open channel of communication, and foster an environment where everyone enjoys the work.

I hope these tips are useful and help you understand that the death of the coffee meeting is instead just the evolution of the coffee meeting.

I hope these tips are something that you can use and best of luck! 

Sandip Chaudhury, Head of International Banking & Customer Growth at HSBC Bank

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