This article was written by Roxette Miranda, WUN Systems
Coworking creates opportunities. Looking around a coworking or shared workspace, you’ll realize that there’s ample room to make new connections that can easily lead to collaboration, mentoring, and unique professional opportunities. This is due to the inherent nature of the space, specifically the diverse backgrounds of all members.
This type of workspace tends to bring together people in an authentic, organic way; it’s part of the reason why coworking spaces have grown in popularity and why members continue to come back. If you’re a coworking member, then I’m preaching the choir; if, however, you’re new to coworking, finding the right way to network and bond with people can feel somewhat challenging.
Which is why we’ve made a short guide about how to get the best out of a networking experience.
1. Take a Genuine Interest in Others
To quote the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
When walking through a coworking you have both feet set into a professional melting pot. Within the workspace you’ll find people of several different walks: freelancers, start-up entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs on their 2nd or 3rd successful startup, employees of a company, owners of a company, and heads of corporations themselves. So, make sure you get to know where everyone is coming from and listen to them and their own endeavors.
Don’t sell yourself with a one-sided conversation, see their experiences through their own words and you might learn something useful down the road.
2. Pool Your Resources and Your Connections
Some coworking spaces have management software that will let you easily communicate with other members. Better yet, some of these are organized to allow you to look up other members by skill or interests. Perhaps you can find others from your same industry or experience or you can bring other users together using your knowledge about them. Whether with you or through you, make yourself known as a professional matchmaker and you’ll become a go-to person for big projects and big ideas.
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3. Become an Asset
When it comes to getting your name and services out there, sure, you can start by handing out branded materials such as pens, mugs, mouse pads, coasters, etc. That sort of approach is fine, but you can make a much more significant impact if you become a needed fixture within the workspace.
This is especially important if you are a freelancer. Perhaps you can exchange your services in a quid pro quo manner, such as graphic design for media publication. You can best gauge the needs of other members by striking up casual conversations in an open space or at one of the many networking events these workspaces offer and host. Another idea is to offer special deals for your services exclusive to those in your space. If you put your passion on full display and gain a reputation for solving problems for your neighbors, you can gain a strong base of clientele without having to ask.
There are countless success stories of coworking and collaboration. It all boils down to genuine interest in those around you, their goals, and building meaningful relationships. Do this and you’ll experience first-hand the benefits of connecting and networking in a shared workspace.