Free wi-fi isn’t free

Respect is essential for maintaining a professional attitude with your clients and partners. It is also important to show respect to the places where you conduct business.

I like meeting clients in local coffee shops.  The aroma of freshly-roasted coffee beans and hot pastries fresh out of the oven presents a comfortable feel to the meeting. Most places offer free wireless internet service as a perk for their patrons. However, they still pay for their internet service as part of the cost of doing business.

I have walked into places and have been appalled to see someone working away on their laptop without a beverage or snack nearby. When you are there and you are using their “free” wireless service, just buy something – coffee, tea, a pastry.

Conduct your business in a timely manner. Some places may limit access 30 minutes or 1 hour, depending on the time of day.

Schedule your meeting time other than during a café’s peak hours (7-9 a.m., 11 a.m. -1 p.m.) There will be more space and less noise for you to conduct your meeting.

Find a favorite coffee shop to patronize. Baristas know people. If you’re a familiar face, that connection could lead the way to your next client.

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