Breakfast Beats Beer. Choose Breakfast Over Drinks
In 2020, let’s grab breakfast instead of a drink to catch up.
I love connecting with people. My goal is to do it over breakfast, not dinner or drinks. Whether you love or hate going out, breakfast can improve the time you spend with people. Here’s how:
Breakfast is the ultimate meal to share with a colleague or friend.
Getting up to see a friend or colleague is all the caffeine I need for the day – and I only drink decaf. The thing is, waking up with the prospect of breakfast with someone I’m invested in is more exciting than feeling obligated to give anyone my time at the end of the day. I liken it to the science behind going to the gym to improve your fitness. Studies have shown that folks who commit to working out early are more likely to stick to their programs than those who hit the gym in the evening. I’d link to an article here, but trust me. It’s true.
Unlike dinner, it has a clear ending. Yes, sometimes the coffee, (full test or otherwise), but when you go for breakfast it is a more effective use of time with a clear ending. We have other things to do after – work, study, nap, whatever.
I know what you are thinking, how can you be authentic when you’re looking for effective use of time. Notice I didn’t say efficient use of time. For me, it’s about the quality of the connection in any given interaction. If we get together when the day is young, we’re getting better as it goes on. Dinner often comes with more fatigue, complaining, tardiness and an overall feeling of winding down than ramping up. Let’s share in the excitement of the day together.
Getting carried away?
I’m reminded of one company I may or may not have worked for early in my career. This company would throw parties for its clients and spend mega dollars on getting them plastered drunk after strategy sessions. (No don’t look them up in my profile. My time there was brief. We weren’t a fit). One night, after a decent day of meetings, we ended up accidentally setting a client on fire. I wonder what the client remembered most?
On another occasion no employees were allowed to leave a party we were throwing at a private club for our clients until the last client left. Apparently one client staying behind because he was making out with his account manager was enough for us to all be obligated to stay until the early hours of the next (work) day. That was awkward.
Needless to say, culturally we weren’t a fit. After I left that company they were featured in a news report about woman-led companies that used alcohol to help them achieve their business development goals. To paraphrase the CEO, “I’d hate to lose out on the client acquisition of the century because I had to go home and couldn’t have another drink.” This way of thinking makes me sad.
Skip the Booze
Clearly scarred from this, let’s get back to breakfast! My point is that breakfast skips the alcohol. It’s not that I don’t want to share a drink with you – trust me, there are times when you might think it’s necessary (I’m not a big drinker) – however, I want to give you my 100 per cent attention and alcohol, whether we like it or not, is a distraction. While a conversation may become more frank as an evening goes on, as a depressant, alcohol is unlikely to enrich our conversation in a positive way. Having said that, if there’s something to celebrate then yes, break out the mimosa and make sure neither of us has that critical meeting or conversation we’ve been planning for after.
Still want to indulge? Choose breakfast! The range of options is outstanding when you go out for breakfast these days. indulging on that inch-thick, spent-grain, Canadian maple syrup-soaked French toast isn’t something I’d recommend often, but it can be a fun way to celebrate. It also doesn’t really cost more than a Grand Slam ™ breakfast from Denny’s (please don’t go to Denny’s or IHOP. Support local).
Pardon me? What?
One of the most practical reasons why I choose breakfast to connect is that the connection is better. Literally better. Looking at some of the classic communication models such as the Shannon-Weaver model or more recent constructionist theory, noise (literal and figurative) presents a huge barrier to communication and reaching understanding.
Despite what I witnessed at that client party, busy restaurants, bars are pubs are challenging places to make a strong connection with a colleague. They are literally becoming louder places.
I’m deaf in one ear and hearing in a noisy place is a real challenge. My preference isn’t to go out to be seen but rather to listen to you. Breakfast has a stronger connection because there’s less noise, particularly if we go early.
Finally, among the most important reasons why I’d rather go for bagel than a beer this year is that it’s different and more memorable. Being different and memorable aligns with my values. A few years ago, I did a core value exercise with my therapist.
If you haven’t done this exercise, I can coach you through it. Identifying a personal set of core values is not the exclusive domain of counsellors, but it is a bit different than the exercises you’ve inevitably done in meeting rooms with flip charts and sticky notes.
For me it was one of the most powerful, guiding moments of my life. What came up for me is that I always tend to go somewhat against the grain of what others around me are doing. Not that I want to work harder, I’m the first person to go with the flow, but I value uniqueness. Breakfast is just enough different from lunch and dinner to satisfy my core value in spades.
There you have it. It’s time for us tor start the New Year right. Make a stronger connection. Get together at a time when we’re gaining not losing momentum. Finally, let’s work to set each other on fire only figuratively.
Have a great, prosperous 2020 everyone.