Here's the tale of a typical meeting with someone you've not met before . . . in a chain coffee shop:
You meet outside. It’s heaving inside, so you suggest they find a seat and you get the drinks.
“I’m having a flat white – what do you fancy” I ask
“Cappuccino please” They reply.
I get to the queue. There are 19 people in front of me, including a group of young Italian tourists, who all want revolting looking flavoured iced coffees. 16 mins later I am at the front of the queue.
“Would you like chocolate on the cappuccino”?
F**k! Ahh. I frantically wave at the lady I’m meeting. She doesn’t see me. She could be allergic, I can’t just say yes. Ugh. I run across to her, looking ludicrous. She does want chocolate.
I pick up the two coffees and try and weave from the counter to where she is sat, right at the back, by the toilet. I get knocked into 3 or 4 times and by the time I get to her I have a burned thumb, and both saucers are flooded in coffee.
At the table, there isn’t anywhere to put the drinks. It’s got 3 sandwich boxes on it, and what looks like a cookie which had been crushed from a height, meaning there are upwards of 10,000 crumbs all over the table and floor.
“So – nice to meet you”
Now consider the difference when meeting someone in a classy hotel bar.
You meet outside and walk in. It’s quiet and most tables are free. You are greeted and told you can sit anywhere. You calmly walk over to the best table, with the best view of the vaulted ceiling, huge windows and sparkling bar. You begin talking and the waiter comes over
“A flat white and a cappuccino please”
“Chocolate on that madam”?
The coffee costs twice as much (you will get a little cake with it though), but the difference in quality of the meeting is immeasurable.
When people are relaxed they perform so much better. In the busy coffee places, you can’t hear each other. There is also the question of recall.
I meet upwards of 500 people a year and if I met them all in the same busy coffee places, there would be a blurring of faces in my memory.
By going to different classy locations, I can remember the minute detail of each meeting.
London is littered with classy places to meet. Really consider where to go. It takes 5 mins to look at google and work out somewhere – don’t be lazy and plump for the nearest chain, as it will impact your meeting.
In the next ten days on LinkedIn, I’ll post suggestions of where to meet in London, from my experiences. You won’t regret going there and it will make you love this awesome city just a little bit more.