Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Coffee, Conversations and Commerce – The Barista Banter

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There is something to be said about coffee. Not only does it get your brain firing on all cylinders (sometimes over-firing so don’t drink too much), but it also is a conversation starters. In fact, coffee seems to grease the gears of conversation. In recent years, the coffee house has become an “office away from the office” – a casual and loud environment were friends, co-workers, partners and prospects can get together to discuss business or pleasure.

Coffee shops are better than bars in many ways. For starters, alcohol does the opposite of caffeine. It can cloud your thoughts and potentially make you forgetful, whereas caffeine stimulates and gets your ideas flowing. There are times, however, when a bar meeting is appropriate. Alcohol does remove some inhibitions and allows people to come out of their shells and talk a bit more freely and openly. Depending on your motives, this might be ok.

Latte-foam-artHowever, I feel that daytime, coffee house conversations are better, especially if you are just starting a business relationship. Bars to me seem to be more celebratory, after you just closed a deal or inked a partnership. Pop the champagne corks at that point…but until your business is completed, stick to enjoying to java aroma, admiring the coffee crema and discussing what coffee patterns can be drawn in your latte foam. Just be careful not to have too much coffee. There is nothing worse than being jittery.

IBM, Partners and Coffee

IBM recently introduced a series of videos that take place in a coffee house. They each follow a similar style and formula – 3 people sitting in a coffee house, typically IBM business partners, each discussing a pertinent business topic – cloud, social, analytics, mobile, etc.

The video series is called “IBM Coffee + Conversation” and is the latest in breaking the traditional mold of getting business messaging out to the public, particularly mid-size businesses.

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coffee conversation-video-title

Below is the IBM Midsize Business playlist for this series. The playlist contains 10 videos and the videos range from one to three minutes in length.

Here is the full list of videos, including Topics and direct links:


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These videos feel like you are eavesdropping on a set of industry experts discussing strategies, insights and tactics around a particular subject. The conversations are approachable, but also like receiving a mini-webinar.

Video is an incredibly powerful means to communicate and get your message out. Because of shortened attention spans, people tend to watch a video more frequently than read a lengthy article or dialogue. And the approach that IBM took by having these conversations in a coffee house brings the audience into the scene.

What do you think? Are these videos effective? Which is your favorite? What do you think about the coffee house setting? Do you have any coffee conversations that are business related?

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

HTD says: All of this coffee talk has made me want a cup of java!

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