50 Cups of Coffee

What if we all tried to meet one new person a week? Think of the connections we’d make and the relationships we’d build.

In a TEDx Talk called “The 50 Cups of Coffee Challenge,” the speaker encourages audience members to meet up with one person a week for 50 weeks of the year. Through these “connections through conversation,” your network can expand and your life can be greatly impacted.

At the Venango Chamber and with the Be Here initiative, we’re all about connections. Connecting new residents to like-minded community members, job seekers with businesses hiring, visitors with information about our region, and so much more.

It’s essential, especially in a small town, to get to know people throughout the community, whether it’s your neighbor, a business owner, or just another community member you see out and about. Connections can not only help you feel welcomed and at home here, but can also lead you to accomplishing great things.

These can be personal and involve meeting new friends, or more professional, leading to success within your career. They say “it helps to know people” and it’s 100% true. If you need a business referral, new customers, or just helpful advice, the more people you know, the better chance you can make that happen.

The 50 Cups of Coffee Challenge is not about the coffee, rather the connection you can make with people. It doesn’t have to be complicated–you can even try to schedule meetings with people at a time when they already stop at the coffee shop each day.

As described in the TED Talk, there are three types of people in your social circle who you can reach out to:

  • Mentees: People who are not as experienced as you, but would appreciate your time. You were in their shoes once!
  • Mentors: People more experienced than you who could help you get to wherever you’re aiming for.
  • People you’re “meant to hang with”: You might already spend time with them, like a co-worker, but meeting them for coffee can help you learn even more about them on a deeper level.

As described in the TED Talk, it can be awkward and a small percentage of conversations may actually lead to something, but that small percentage makes the entire challenge worth it. There is no strategy for doing it. Just pick up the phone or open your email, and reach out to that person.

As Bobby Audley said in the TED Talk: “It doesn’t have to be something grand, it’s just connections with someone on a human level.”

So, are you up for the 50 Cups of Coffee Challenge?

My boss Susan, president & CEO at the Venango Chamber, set a goal to complete the challenge this year. Because of running my business, I’ve set a smaller goal to meet with 25 people–about once every two weeks. If you’d like to connect with either of us, get in touch! Our number at the Chamber is (814) 676-8521 and our email addresses are swilliams@venangochamber.org and acowles@venangochamber.org.