On the Myers Briggs scale, I lean toward the introvert side. Standing around looking for someone to talk to at a big networking event is like waiting to be picked for gym class.
Recently my business coach, Marty O’Neill, challenged me to get out of the office more. So I signed up for a couple of GovExec events. I spent half the day at them. So far I’ve met a vendor that competes with a product we buy. Good for him but I could have found them surfing the internet from my desk.
Marty then recommended that I do 50 cups of coffee.
What? I had to do some research.
I found a book of that name: “50 cups of Coffee” But that’s for people on the hunt for “Mr. Right.” I’m happily married.
After graduating from college, Megan Gebhart met with 52 new people over the course of a year to “see what lessons she could learn about life and careers” and because “she couldn't resign herself to life at an aimless 9-to-5 job …” She has since become an internet celebrity and wrote a book. She turned into a professional coffee meet-er.
But I’m old enough to be her mother and well into my 9-5 career…
Entrepreneur Mark Suster suggests 50 coffees – but on a break-neck schedule: one every weekday or 250 per year!
Whoa! I can feel my blood pressure going up!
Peter Thomas in Inc Magazine recommends using 50 coffees for “raising investment, changing careers, or leaving your city.”
Nope, not trying to do any of that.
But I found Mr. Thomas’ premise to be intriguing:
“Setting the goal of having coffee with 50 people forces you to be clear about your goals. Making the goal public, one person at a time, also makes it much stronger. Having 50 coffees is good because then you have to commit to the specific move that you want to make. You’ll also get input from smart and interesting people.”
And his approach made me feel a bit more comfortable:
“I'm not talking about generic catch-up coffees and awkward first-time meetings with sales prospects. Instead, I'm looking for a focused debate with an intelligent peer. The best coffee discussions are about an idea you’re both interested in, or where the other person can give you input on something they like discussing.”
I do have some goals this coming year: 1) Seek opportunities with the DoD. 2) Find large primes interested in sharp small businesses for teaming on existing or upcoming large contracts.
My firm provides communications services to programs that are challenged with:
- A variety of stakeholders who must be engaged to achieve the mission
- An outreach and/or recruiting aspect to their mission
- A high profile mission that is covered by the media or followed by Congress
We set-up a “listening dashboard” to keep our clients abreast of issues and measure communication performance over time. We also create award-winning videos, animations, websites, etc.
I’m interested in data analytics, behavior science and the human interaction needed to tackle complex missions.
Does any of this interest you? Want to grab a cup of coffee?