Say no to coffee

How do I find out why the heck someone wants to have coffee with me?

Ah, the coffee dilemma. Whether you’re self employed or working successfully and happily for someone else, people will inevitably ask you out for coffee. And it seems like they never want to say why.

I created Consultant Journal because people I didn’t know were asking me out for coffee. I simply didn’t have enough time to go with all of them. And, today, I love that this site allows me to have a virtual coffee with 35,000 people each month.

But most of you aren’t going to start a website to get out of coffee dates. And, admittedly, I still get people asking me out for coffee. When you’re a professional – whether a consultant, entrepreneur or executive – other people often want to pick your brain or somehow soak up some of your sunshine. I admit to doing the same. I ask people out for coffee too. When I started off in my career, information interviews were key and networking remains a valuable tool.

Yet we can’t always do coffee with every person who asks. So what’s a good way to respond?  Some very smart (and organized) friends of mine say, "Hey, I’m short on face time. I’m sure you’re in the same situation. Is this something we can work out by phone or email?" 

Being direct and friendly can save you time. If you’re finding yourself working lots but not getting a lot done, take a look at your schedule to see if some of it has to do with unplanned phone calls, emails and coffee dates.

What do you say when you get a mysterious request for coffee?

Vena Jensen says:

Your response is perfect. Great post! Thanks.