I wrote last week with some tips around networking.  For me, it has gone from a burden to one of my most important tasks.  With the 2,200+ one-on-one meetings under my belt, I have been in every kind of networking session you can imagine.

First things first – get a warm introduction from someone to the person you want to meet.  How?  Use LinkedIn to find common connections is the easiest way I know.  Outside of that, ask around.  When you get a warm intro you ride on the credibility of that person introducing you.  It means a lot.  Use it if you can.

So, you are going to set up the meet – where are you going to do that?

In the majority of your requests – you really need something from them.  So, go to them.  In my earliest networking journey, I would do 3 or 4 per day, 4 days per week.  Seriously.  So, I attempted to coordinate meetings near each one of my targets.

The best place for me – Starbucks or another coffee shop.  I have been to literally every coffee shop in the Triangle region.

Here are a few of my favorite meeting places:

  • The Starbucks @ NC54.  It is a central place for people coming from Cary, Raleigh or Durham.  The hop is pretty much right off of I-40. Which means it is accessible with little hassle.  It is also big, so there is almost always a seat for two.
  • The Starbucks @ Page Road.  This is even more central but it is always crowded and a tough place to park if around lunch or dinner.  And it is very small unless you can sit outside.
  • Beyu Café in Durham is a great meeting stop.  Large enough to handle you at any time with parking within a block or two.  The added benefit for Beyu is that there is always someone else you know so you get the face-time benefits of seeing other people.
  • Café Carolina located at either Meadowmont (near Chapel Hill) or Harrison Road (Cary).  Both are off of I-40 and both are typical meeting spots.

Good luck.