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A Virtual Cup of Coffee
During the worldwide pandemic, millions upon millions of people were affected, both at home, at work, and personally. The world has forever shifted, and we had to learn to adapt and acclimate to our new set-in reality. One of the most significant ways we learned to adapt was by no longer working in an office setting and creating a work set-up at home. Along with working from home, business meetings turned virtual. This is how the virtual cup of coffee concept took off, and for many, it’s one of the most effective ways to network and connect by socially distancing.
Back in the day, and by back in the day, I mean 9-10 months ago, we were shaking hands, not wearing masks, and sitting down with people to grow and share business. Although this seems like a distant reality, in-person interactions have transitioned into grabbing a virtual cup of coffee.
The concept here is the same, grabbing a bite to eat or sharing a drink over a conversation. The only difference is that instead of meeting at a coffee shop, you’re inviting them to a zoom meeting.
Audio over video
When you are setting up your virtual call, ask them if they would like to video chat, and always ask their permission first. Virtual meetings have become so common that people have begun to turn their video off and only have on their sound. You want to make sure the person you are meeting with can hop on a video chat and that they are comfortable doing so.
Having a video call over an audio call helps the simulation of being at a coffee shop seem more realistic. You can see the person’s facial reactions, make eye contact (through the screen, of course) and get to know each other better than if it was over the phone.
Treat it like an in-person meeting
You should go into the virtual cup of coffee with the same mentality as you would to meet someone in person. Do your best to keep this interaction professional, which means dress the part and tidy up your background and workspace.
It’s become a popular trend to dress up only the top half of your body, while the other half you can is in sweats. The person on the other end of the call would never know. A great tip to keep with you during any occasion is that you can never dress up too much, but there is always a chance you could be underdressed. Pull out the blazer from your closet and throw it on for your 30-minute call.
While you are on the call, you must keep your background clean and professional. A great way to work around the setting of your meeting is to add a background image to your video call that will warrant a laugh but also remain professional.
Invite them to eat/drink
The best way to simulate the virtual cup of coffee to be as realistic as possible is to invite them to sip a cup of coffee or have a snack. Maybe eating isn’t the best idea because it will be hard to talk while you are eating, but a drink is always a good move.
Whether you make it a happy hour edition or keep it to caffeinated drinks only, it’s always fun to work with the cup of coffee theme. Another great way you can spice up the call is to share a drink recipe that you love. Invite them to make it before the meeting; that way you are sharing an experience.
Overall, you should go into a virtual meeting with a clear insight into what you want to gain. Whether that’s a client to your business or as simple as adding someone to your matrix, it’s vital to keep a goal in mind.