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Why You Should Stop Asking Professionals For Coffee

Why you shouldn't waste people's time begging them for coffee and what you should do instead to make a genuine connection.

Tam Pham
Tam Pham
3 min read

The worst advice I received after graduating high school was: “Just go out there and network.”

Go out where? Network with whom? What does this even mean!?!?

I knew it was important in life to have strong connections but I had no idea how to build these relationships. Does that mean I have to suck up to people to have them like me?

After spending three years tackling this problem, I am connected with many influential people including best selling authors, business professionals and high level entrepreneurs!

Am I rich? No.

Am I famous? No.

Am I super “successful”? No.

Which leaves you wondering, why would anyone want to be “connected” with a young guy like me? This one technique that I'm sharing can build strong connections with anyone you meet.

The secret? Be a giver.

You have to give, relentlessly. Give, give, give and never expect anything in return. When you do this, opportunities will naturally flow to you.

How does this make sense?

It’s called the law of reciprocity which basically means: When you do something nice for someone, they have a psychological urge to do something nice for you in return.

Knowing this, I have made it a habit to consistently give to others whenever I can.

  • Give an article to a co-worker that they might like
  • Give a compliment about them or how grateful you are
  • Give them attention and promote their work on social media
  • Give them a link to a giveaway that they would find interest in
  • Give your time and support them with whatever they need help with

When somebody gives me anything, I instantly take note of it and I have a natural desire to help them back.

On top of all these suggestions, one of the best things you can give are ideas.

Most successful people don’t care coffee because they don’t need some teenager paying for their drink. They have the money but what they value most is their TIME.

Instead of asking people for coffee, give them your time and expertise to generate IDEAS on how to help them:

  • Promote their YouTube channel
  • Find guests for their podcast
  • Grow their online business
  • Increase blog traffic
  • Get more clients

I’ve used this one idea (credit to James Altucher) to connect with SO many great people.

Real World Example

Ryan Porter had a YouTube video answering questions in his video series, Unsolicited Career Advice. At the end of the video, he asked viewers to send him questions that he should answer for his next video. The episode at the time had 100 views and from my predictions, it was highly likely that no one sent him any questions yet.

Here was my chance. I didn’t send him just one question, I sent him 20 different ideas and even wrote it out for him. Ryan really appreciated it and we started a rich conversation.

No longer are you the pesky kid asking for coffee. You’re now seen as someone who understands them and wants to genuinely help.

Now you might be wondering, “Why should I give away my ideas for free? I should charge for this!”

Remember, time is everyone’s ultimate resource. Ideas show people that you used your precious time and effort to come up ways and help THEM. The moment you start helping other people, opportunities WILL open up for you. When I visited Toronto last May, Ryan was more than happy to meet with a loyal fan of his work.

“Because the truth is, people like people. We’re wired for it. And people do business with other people. So when you learn to generally give to those people without expecting them to do something in return, you win. You’ll perceive the world differently, and if we’re being honest, be a better person because of it.” - Gary Vaynerchuk

Action Step

Find 1 person you really want to connect with and give them 10 ideas to help them.

Discover what problems they currently have in their personal life or business and generate ideas to solve that problem. You will surprise yourself once you see the responses you will get from this simple act of kindness.

If you need help, my book on networking has helped over 10,000 people with connecting with professionals using a super simple framework. Good luck in your career and journey!


Tam Pham Twitter

I'm a writer and bachata dancer currently bouncing around Latin America. Trying to make the most out of my one wild and precious life.

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