3 Lessons From An Awkward-Silence-Filled Coffee Meetup With Someone I Met on LinkedIn

office_719_holly_proposesMost college grads aren’t comfortable with meeting complete-working-professional-strangers. It’s like a blind date where you talk about work. And job history. And TPS reports.

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Still, it’s important you know how to do this. Networking doesn’t come easy to a lot of people – that’s cool. Here are 3 lessons I learned from a particularly awkward networking meeting that’ll help you crawl out from that rock you’ve been living under since high school graduation.

1. Networking Can Be Pretty Awkward. That Doesn’t Matter.

The meeting I just came from had more awkward silences than an episode of The Office (from early seasons, with Michael Scott – not the Will Ferrell stuff). We both struggled for conversation topics, both accidentally interrupted each other many times, and by the end we both left hastier than…well, we both left pretty quickly because it was awkward.

But as a guy who has had a terrible history of actually accepting encouragement and compliments, I was proud of myself that I actually went. You’ll be proud of yourself, too. It was like reaching the top of those stairs for Rocky. Even though it was awkward at moments, the guy was cool and I have a new connection now.

*Rocky theme song*

It doesn’t matter if it’s awkward.

2. Making It All About Them is Actually a Seriously Good Idea

Like a first date (look, it’s a good analogy, so deal with it), the best ones involve selfless, friendly, humble people. Not selfish narcissistic talkers who talk about their spray tans and gym schedule. Nah, man.

Ask them a lot of questions. A LOT. Do some research beforehand, why don’t ya. It’s flattering, it’s attractive (I mean, who doesn’t like talking about themselves?), and people will get way looser and friendlier. They’ll start to ask you questions, too. Don’t pitch the ball to yourself – take turns pitching to each other and you’ll have a ball.

3. These Meetups Are a Boot Camp For Learning How to Be Charming/Personable

Ever thought that you’re too awkward/shy/quiet/introverted to ever meet anyone new without making them think you’re a stalker-terrorist? Ever want to change that?

Network and meetup.

I’m a fan of getting thrown in the deep end; not because I like it, it’s terrifying – because I respect the results. Forcing yourself to actually talk to new people, get to know them, and put yourself out there is a recipe for delicious success. Yumm.

For once, your overthinking and re-overthinking will actually come in handy as you go over everything you wish you would’ve done differently to have a better meeting next time.

What’s YOUR piece of advice on how have better chats with other professionals? 

Tell us NOW in the comments.


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  1. Daniel Moore says:

    I usually tend to talk with the person about work, especially if we have the same job description, I enjoy talking about similar stories, wins, or struggles that me and the other person have encountered at our own jobs. For me it creates a great bond during the conversation and allows whatever barriers are there to be taken down!

  2. If I’m talking to a fellow colleague, I just make sure I let them get there words in, be humble. Who knows?…you may learn something

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