Why I always take notes at coffee meetings

by | Dec 15, 2020 | Business conversations, Networking, Selling

Q1: Do you take notes at coffee meetings?

Q2: How effective are your coffee meetings?

Since my very first business coffee meeting many years ago, I have always had a notepad and pen with me. This is partly because I’ve always been a notetaker… if a university lecturer said to my class, ‘Don’t bother taking notes, you’ll get the slides’, I’d still take notes, because otherwise I’d switch off.

Like most people, I engage with information best by actively being involved. As I joked to a friend this week, that means I interrupt a lot! If I jump in with questions or comments while you are talking, try not to be too frustrated with me, because it means I’m actually listening! When it’s information I wish to retain, such as on a phone call or in a meeting, I also take notes for myself.

If you are not a note-taker, that means you either are excellent at retaining information just by listening (this is not most people) or you aren’t that interested in retaining the information. If it’s the latter (and it probably is), that is fine if the information isn’t important to you or your business… but may I gently suggest that you may be missing some big opportunities to connect the dots, make some key observations, build trust and win new clients.

Pretty important in business.

If you still don’t feel like grabbing a notebook and pen, here are 5 major reasons why I always have and always will take notes at coffee meetings:

  1. It shows genuine interest in the other person. This builds trust and rapport.
  2. It allows you to retain information more effectively and refer to it later, to pick up where you left off. This enables a smooth and natural continued relationship (and people love that you’ve remembered the details).
  3. Your proposals of work will be much more impactful because you’ll be using the exact language and priorities you heard during the conversation.
  4. It allows you to co-create solutions rather than experiencing a vague exchange or sales pitch. For example, you can brainstorm how to solve a business problem together on paper. Using visuals while you brainstorm can be extremely powerful too.
  5. You will deliver the best coffee meeting follow-up they’ve ever experienced – whether that’s a copy of your brainstorm or an emailed summary of your notes – and this is a thousand times more likely to lead to future business.

For these reasons, I’ll always take notes in business coffee conversations. If you’re a boss, you should be insisting on this with all your staff!