You got a coworking membership to really get some work done. You figure that you can’t help but be productive if you are surrounded by others who are busily working on their own projects. So, you put in your ear buds and get in the zone. You are a one-person powerhouse of productivity. And you’re doing coworking all wrong.
Coworking isn’t just about the work you can accomplish alone. It’s about connecting and collaborating with your fellow coworkers. It’s about bouncing around ideas and getting new perspectives. And while keeping your head down and concentrating is something every coworker has to do occasionally, networking is an essential part of the experience.
Here are some simple tips to successfully navigate the social atmosphere of your coworking space.
It all starts with one word….
Saying just one word can open up a realm of opportunities to you in your coworking space. If you’re an introvert, it’s understandable that this might be hard. Remember that if you’re new to the coworking space, there’s a good chance that most of the people there would like to get to know you; after all, networking is what a coworking space is for.
Start with greeting just one person. Once others see that you’re making an effort, they’ll start to initiate contact with you. As you’re conversing with people, let your passion shine through and others will start to believe in your business as much as you do.
Use the break areas wisely and strategically
The break area in a coworking space can prove as a great way to get to know people. While others are waiting for their food to heat up or stirring their coffee, you can initiate a conversation about current events or the coworking space in general.
However, you don’t want to start selling your business to a fellow coworker eating his lunch. Unlike a traditional networking event, a coworking space is not the place to hand out as many cards as possible. It can easily turn people off from any further communication with you.
Instead, ask questions about their business to get the conversation going.
Go to coworking space events
You don’t have to go to all the events offered, but going to one or two social or professional events during the month will show others that you want to be an active member of the space. This could be the time to take a stack of business cards with you so as you’re conversing with people, you can easily provide your contact information. You can even converse about the event afterwards on the coworking space’s social media pages. It will carry on the conversation for a long-term professional relationships.
Suite Spotte offers several events each month to help you connect. From Suite Symposiums to workshops, there are several ways for you to keep in touch with other coworkers.
Pay attention to where you can help
Does someone in the coworking space need a skillset that you happen to have? Speak up and offer your services to that person. Does someone need a good recommendation for a Thai place and you just happened to know a good one down the street? Forward them the menu.
Speaking up and helping another person gives you good credibility in the coworking space as a go-to person in your area, and you get to help someone else in the process. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Perhaps you’re starting up an event-planning service and a person sitting next to you does press releases. You might need a press release done for a client’s event, and you can potentially trade a press release for planning a press release workshop for someone. Bartering work is an easy way to get services that you need while “trying out” your coworkers before recommending them to your clients and customers.
Getting your work done is important, but it’s also valuable to network within your coworking space. The new friends you’ll meet and the collaborative projects that come out of those conversations will be well worth stepping away from your desk every now and then.