Four Inane Questions with Coffee Lunch Coffee’s Alana Muller

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Alana Muller has been blessed with the gift of gab. The entrepreneurial executive leader can power through hosting a breakfast networking meeting and then facilitate a motivational corporate workshop mere hours later. Muller is the former president of KauffmanFastTrac. Her goal now? “To connect, inspire, and empower the community,” she says. 

Today, Muller is the founder and CEO of Coffee Lunch Coffee, where she wears plenty of networking hats including speaker, strategist, and coach, to name a few. She’s also the best-selling author of Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical FieldGuide for Master Networking.

Need to grow your client list exponentially? Advance your career? Connect with others? Muller has helped thousands of people formulate a strategic mindset around networking. And like her company’s namesake, she takes three meetings each day to help movers and shakers move and shake more effectively. (How busy is she? We waited nearly three months for our coffee date.)

We can’t be sure—probably because of the eight-shot Americano we drank during our meeting—but we think she was tickled to answer our four decidedly dumbass questions. Bless.

The Pitch: What’s your favorite lyric of any song in the history of music?

Alana Muller: Do I have to go with just one? If forced, I’d have to go with the ageless: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave,” from the Eagles’ “Hotel California.” Who can’t relate to this genius line? I mean, we’ve all been in a meeting, sat on a committee, and been in a conversation from which we long to escape, but we’re trapped.

Also, I have to give a special shout-out to Robert Palmer for the brilliant: “The lights are on, but you’re not home.” It’s a line from the classic “Addicted to Love.” We all know someone suffering from this affliction, amiright? 

Do you have a favorite most egregious/most embarrassing networking mishap?

Remembering people’s names is really important to me. I don’t think it’s cool to say, “I’m just so bad with names.” It turns out that our names are the most personal things we own, and we are freely doling them out to whoever will take them. In fact, when someone speaks back our name to us, it’s like getting a gift. 

So, imagine my horror when I said to this dude, Alex, a guy who worked for the same company as me, “I’m sorry, I don’t think we’ve met. My name is Alana,” and he replied, “Alana, this is actually the fifth time you’ve said that to me. My name is still Alex.” Yikes! Needless to say, he didn’t talk to me again. Truthfully, to this day, I’m not sure his name was Alex.

If you had a celebrity rider, what would be your most outlandish mandatory requirement? 

Oh, I’ve been thinking about this ever since Van Halen’s David Lee Roth required a bowl full of M&Ms in his dressing room with all the brown ones removed to ensure that the concert promoters actually read their contracts.  

So, in addition to a deep tissue massage between speaking engagements, my celebrity rider would stipulate that, no matter where I am, the weather will be a consistent 77 degrees and sunny by day; 72 degrees with a warm breeze, stars, and moonlight by night—oh—and world peace.

How long can you physically go without blinking?

Thanks for the question—nobody has ever asked me this before. I just gave it a try and got in 22 seconds before it hurt, and I had to shut ‘em. 

Come to think of it, I should probably be better at this. Eye contact is really important in networking and building meaningful relationships, so the ability to not blink seems worthy. I will have to work on my not-blinking muscle and get back to you.

Bonus 5th Question: What is one coffee combination/drink you will never consume again as long as you live?

Well, despite my company name being Coffee Lunch Coffee, I don’t actually drink coffee.

So, I suppose I could say I won’t be consuming coffee grounds bathed in water anytime soon. (That said, I have nothing against coffee—it’s just not my thing). However, what really bothers me is when I go to quench my thirst on an ice cold, delicious, crisp, clean glass of water—and it’s actually room temp, flat Sprite. Ew! 

Categories: Culture