3 Networking Tips to Help You Create
Better Connections in a Coworking Space
If the word “networking” fills you with dread, you are not alone. No matter what industry you are in, putting yourself out there can be anxiety-provoking.
How do you overcome this anxiety? By mastering networking.
The good news is that you can practice and hone your networking skills in many places. Coworking spaces, for instance, serve as excellent networking venues, with many people now enjoying a hybrid work environment.
So, if you work in one, you’ve got the job half done. Now you only have to follow these tips for networking in a coworking space for the best results:
1. Attend Networking Events
Here’s one of the most important tips for networking in a coworking space I can give you: Attend networking events. While coworking spaces offer you a chance to meet potential connections, you don’t always have the opportunity to connect with others during work days. Most people who use coworking spaces are too busy to talk to anyone else. A typical coworking member’s work day starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m.
The good news is coworking spaces usually hold networking events for their members. These events are typically attended by people who are done for the day and have time to socialize. That means if you talk to someone during an event, you won’t feel bad you’re taking up much of their time.
There are many types of networking events held in coworking spaces. Here are only some of them:
Happy hours: This is usually held after working hours. During happy hours, members can enjoy snacks and drinks while socializing.
Lunch-and-learns: In these events, there’s usually a speaker who gives members advice on relevant topics. Some topics could be how to increase productivity or how to perform proper accounting. After the talk, you can share your virtual business card as a CTA with the participants who might want to connect outside of the event to learn more
Family events: Some coworking spaces set aside a day for members to bond with their families and other fellow members. Bring your kids and significant other. They might even help you start conversations with other coworking space members.
But don’t come to these events unprepared. You should have some conversation starters ready before anything else. By observing other coworking space members during work hours, you can already get ideas for starting these conversations.
For instance, you might notice one coworking space member always designing printed marketing collateral during work hours. Why not break the ice during these social events by complimenting their work?
2. Be Open to Conversations Even During Work Days
I mentioned how attending networking events hosted by your coworking space can help you practice your networking skills. After all, it can be hard to start conversations with other people during work days since they’re busy. But that doesn’t mean you should only be open to conversations during those events. If someone starts talking to you while you’re working, you can’t just ignore them.
Always be polite and chat with them for a minute or so. That’s not to say you should ditch work. If they still seem keen on continuing the conversation and you do not have the time, then be honest and explain that you have work to do but would love to continue your conversation. You could even schedule a time and place to pick up your chat so that you don’t get caught at the wrong time again. As a professional, they will understand your position.
Of course, once you do set a time for that conversation, make sure you follow through. Your coworking space member will appreciate you even remembering you were supposed to talk to them at that time. Besides, you don’t want to pass up an excellent opportunity to work on your conversation skills.
3. Share Your Knowledge and Skills
Why not share your skills and knowledge with those around you in your coworking space? People will appreciate you taking the time to do that.
Also, only offer your help if a fellow coworking space member makes it known they need it. That last part is very important. Let’s say you’re an email marketer and you see your seatmate who’s starting their own business really struggling with writing emails for their subscribers. You can approach them and ask if you can help them. But don’t offer your help if they have already finished writing the emails without any difficulty as they might think you’re just mocking their email writing skills if you do that.
When offering to help, be as polite as possible as well. You don’t want to sound like an arrogant know-it-all when networking in a coworking space. Instead of building relationships, you’ll only end up getting blacklisted.
BONUS TIP: Connect on Social Media
Don’t limit yourself to just networking in a physical coworking space. There are 4.89 billion social media users globally. LinkedIn, in particular, claims to be the largest professional social network with around 930 million members. That number is bound to include your fellow coworking space members.
So, once you have had a few conversations with some professionals in your coworking space, connect with them on LinkedIn and other social networking platforms. This allows you to nurture the relationship even outside the coworking space. These social platforms, after all, offer many features that help in engagement. You can comment on or like your fellow coworking space members’ LinkedIn posts, retweet their Tweets, among other things.
Besides, if you connect with your fellow coworking space members on social media, you give them a chance to see your profile, too. This isn’t just a great opportunity for them to know more about you. It’s an opportunity to showcase your brand as well. If you seek the help of professional PR services, you can expect even better results when it comes to your brand’s reputation.
But of course, you need to have an impressive social media profile in the first place. That means you should have completed your profile, like the professional below did:
Follow these other tips to ensure an effective social media (LinkedIn) profile as well:
- Make your headline more than just a job title. Specify what makes you stand out.
- List down your skills and services.
- Publish long-form content.
- Display your endorsements.
Don’t forget to use a professional profile photo, too. This applies especially to your profile on LinkedIn which, as I’ve said earlier, is more a platform for professionals and brands rather than for individuals.
Your coworking space is full of networking opportunities, but you have to put yourself out there to benefit from this. You learned tips for networking in a coworking space in this guide.
Attend networking events hosted by your coworking space provider, be open to conversations even during work days, and share your knowledge and skills. As a bonus tip, connect with your fellow coworking space members on social media.
By taking my networking tips on board, you can make the most of the opportunities from coworking spaces and make long-lasting and beneficial connections. Good luck!
About the Author
Chris Norton is founder of insight-led PR agency Prohibition, runs Social Media Training, is a former university lecturer, author of “Share This Too”, and is listed in the UK's top 10 PR and social media bloggers.