The Comfortable Coffee
I was sitting down at the table with my daughter eating dinner last night when she turned and said to me.
"Dad, I'm glad that we're sitting at the table and not watching TV with dinner".
"Why do you feel that way?" I asked.
"When we're in front of a screen we don't have as gooder conversations, when we're sitting at a table together then we have way better chats".
While my daughter understands that I have a busy lifestyle and I avoid working when we are spending time together, on occasion it cannot be helped and she has recognized that in those times a screen is involved. The screen represents disengagement in our interactions and that her Dad's full attention has been reduced because of it. I'm sure parents can understand exactly what I am talking about, it is never intentional and in a busy lifestyle, it happens from time to time. However, when there are no screens around we are there to learn from each other and enjoy each other's company, being fully present in the moment - and my daughter knows this.
"when there are no screens around we are there to learn from each other and enjoy each other's company"
Since my increased activity on LinkedIn I have noticed posts about people asking for coffee meetings and the inconvenience or deceit that potentially follows with this request. While I appreciate and value others opinion that this casual request may have different connotations, I encourage you to perhaps understand it from another angle. One that provides less of a negative perspective, one that is a simple yet comfortable transaction with our busy lifestyle.
I cannot speak for all those that ask for the comfortable coffee meetings, however I can speak for myself and anyone similar that will ask. The intention is to engage without the screens, to learn from each other without the reduced focus and to enjoy each other's company or as my sweet little girl has said: "Have a gooder conversation". I'm not suggesting that every meeting be held a café, I understand that it is a lot more appropriate for a lot of meetings to be held in an office or meeting room as certain agenda require a more professional setting.
Why does this matter??
The purpose is to reach out to those that may feel defensive or think there is a hidden agenda behind this covert operation known as 'the coffee meeting'. Your days are busy, I understand that we are all busy! A coffee meeting is not intended to be deceitful or disrespect you. It is an offer to give you a moment to have a breather from your day to day duties as a busy person, to give you a chance to enjoy the opportunity to learn from someone new, someone that is asking you to join them in a more comfortable and relaxing environment with a coffee to instinctively reach for, rather than a screen. For those of you that do use the comfortable coffee meeting as a hook to catch someone, don't. Be honest, give an agenda because in the end communication without honesty comes across as manipulative and puts building genuine relationships at risk.
So next time someone asks you for a coffee, consider taking the time out to have a "gooder" conversation.