Public relations majors and professionals alike are all united by a few encompassing characteristics. First, our lives are dominated by meetings. The typical schedule of a public relations major or professional is one of early mornings and late nights, constantly acquiring and disseminating information. To keep us going through all of this madness, we are also brought together by our love and chemical need for caffeine.
Well, good news, my fellow students! There is a way to combine these two important aspects of our lives, and it is an incredibly beneficial and efficient way to keep our schedules on track – it is the coffee date.
The coffee date is an innovative take on the traditional meeting for several reasons. First, the journey to a location other than your regular office space can give you a chance to collect your thoughts, create small talk and set the tone. You have the chance to portray a more relaxed attitude – possibly making this event even more enjoyable. Then, on the way back to the office, you can enforce any decisions that were made during the meeting. The coffee date really is a way for you to take a break from the boring office setting while still being productive.
As students, we are all too familiar with procrastination. It is inevitable, especially if we are given a large allotment of time to complete a project. By contrast, when our time is limited, we tend to get things done much more quickly. This is important to note because coffee dates tend to be much shorter than traditional meetings. Of course you have more work to get back to, and it is also true that when you are in a restaurant or coffee shop, people are usually pressured to leave after finishing their beverage. As such, these time constraints can inspire you to get to the important topics, stay on track and get the maximum amount of work done in a minimal amount of time. The particular location of the date can also help; it is easy for your mind to wander in a regular meeting, but if you are staring someone in the face and having an active conversation with them, odds are that you will stay focused.
Public relations majors and professionals also like to emphasize the necessity for networking. Coffee dates, because of their intimate nature, provide a unique networking opportunity. You have the obligation to talk to the person you are meeting in depth – not just giving or receiving orders, but having a discussion. As a result, you will inevitably get to know the person much more effectively than at a traditional office meeting. You can gain their respect and build a professional, mutually beneficial relationship for the future.
To conclude, coffee date meetings are an effective way to improve your attitude, get work done efficiently and network with other professionals. Even if this tool is not applicable now as a student, it can certainly be kept in mind when attending conference events and meeting people later in your career. And of course, we should always note the most essential piece in this puzzle – the coffee.
Teghan Simonton is currently a freshman at Waynesburg University, pursuing a dual major in public relations and journalism. She holds the position of publicity chair for WUPRSSA and copy editor for the Mad Anthony Yearbook. She is also highly involved with the Yellow Jacket student newspaper. When she is not doing these things, she is running for Waynesburg’s Cross Country and Track teams.