For the savvy entrepreneur, every activity outside the four walls of their home is a networking opportunity. Coworking spaces are excellent places for connecting with others because there are so many like-minded individuals gathered in one location. It’s a great environment to chitchat, trade ideas, get feedback and recommendations, and cultivate meaningful, authentic relationships.
Think about it. You’re working. They’re working. Conversations start happening and before you know it… everyone is networking, without even realizing it. Although there’s nothing innately better or worse than traditional networking opportunities, you might find the connections you forge are just a little deeper when they happen organically. Forced relationships never go the distance.
In a coworking space, the vibe is entirely different. However, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Think tasteful, not sleazy or creepy. No one likes a creeper.
Chat with Someone
Think “conversational” not “pushy.” Use opportunities like scoping out the kitchen and brewing coffee as a chance to strike up a conversation with people that look interesting. Or use lunch as an opportunity to sit and chat with someone new. Aim for authentic dialogue, not a conversation with an angle or ulterior motive.
Attend an Event
What better place to meet and greet? Many coworking spaces host events, which makes it an excellent time for you to get involved, attend the event, and meet new people. You can’t find opportunity hiding out at home. You have to go out and look for it. After-hours events happen all the time too, so don’t miss out on those. You might find you infuse both your business and your personal life with fresh energy.
Host an Event
Better yet, host your own event for your business. Even if you do something totally informal, like inviting all your coworking brethren for a round of drinks at a local pub, or hosting a corn hole tournament – it’s an opportunity to build genuine relationships. Your event doesn’t have to be fancy, just real. And real fun. Fun breeds friendship. Friendship breeds opportunity. Opportunity breeds… well, you get the idea.
Make Great Suggestions
Coworking space managers and coordinators love new ideas and suggestions for improvements. They will listen and make them happen if you give them the chance, especially if your ideas are beneficial for everyone, and not self-serving. The key cliché to remember when networking is that rising tides lift all boats. By helping others and doing things that may not benefit you directly (at least at first), you can wind up reaping benefits later down the road.
Change Up Your Work Zone
Coworking spaces are great in that they offer a lot of variety in where you choose to work throughout the day. You could start off working at a desk and end the afternoon working in one of the communal areas. You want to gravitate to where the people are, and work where the conversations are happening. By placing yourself in the midst of all the action, you open up opportunities for people to approach you and for you to approach them.
There’s not a science to networking at a coworking space. It’s a lot like networking anywhere else. The key is to be real and look to foster genuine relationships with cool people. Trade thoughts, trade ideas, and at some point, you may even start trading business.