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"You can make progress in anything with 50 coffee meetings. Get started." [email protected]

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This is from a brilliant piece on networking via 50 coffee meetings by Mark Suster.

The main point is we should exercise our networking muscles every day.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with 50 coffee meetings. Get started.

And practice, practice, practice.

"50 coffee meetings" is a metaphor for networking itself:

This takes 50 coffee meetings. You know the drill – “informational interview.” Life is an informational interview. Everything you do applies to this lesson. Yet too many people never do it. They sit and wait for job specs to be posted on job boards. Or whatever the equivalent metaphor is for any other parts of their business.

Coffee meetings help you with learning, recruiting, fundraising, understanding customers, maintaining relationships with journalists, and finding new work.

Take 50 coffee meetings. Or beer meetings. Or even tea meetings ...

Balti proverb: "The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family..."

Don't just say it. Live it.

And if you're pitching, remember: 5 slides or preferably zero slides (if you can).

Make it about connecting with the person, not about telling the person.

Still relevant 3 years later. 

I recently re-read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People ...

The incantations are quite useful in our 50 coffee meetings.

Fundamental Techniques in Talking with People

  1. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Connect with Another Person

  1. Be genuinely interested in the other person.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're Wrong."
  3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

Or the offshoot...it takes 50 VC meetings to get 1 decent term sheet.

In the twelve years I've been raising venture capital, this is more true than I'd like to admit.

No wonder it takes longer to fundraise than we think: http://pandawhale.com/convo/140/dont-underestimate-how-long-funding-takes

I'm going to ignore this and pretend it's not true. Until next month.

Every rule has its exceptions.

Also, you and I talked about the fact that there are ways to shortcut the process if you're targeted... and lucky. :)

I like #12. I often end my meetings with, "Come at me!"

Me too, Lili! I also like this...

I do not much care for that man... I must get to know him better. ~ Abraham Lincoln

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