5 Ways to Network in a Coworking Space
Coworking centers offer golden opportunities in a couple of important ways. One is the obvious co-working space. The other is a valuable network of people, many of whom are just like you. Having a professional place to work from is the main advantage of the shared office concept. The potential for networking is perhaps less apparent, especially to new members. But knowing how to network in coworking shared office centers can benefit your personal and business development. Coworking offers a real opportunity to schmooze with like-minded creative types. There’s always a chance that other members there will also speak the language of your industry.
Whether you’re a freelancer, solo professional, remote worker for a large company, or a small startup, people need people, at least to some extent. You may have heard the saying: It’s not what you know but who you know. It’s an accurate statement too. This is why successful networking matters so much.
The five Networking essentials for coworking spaces include:
1. The art of small talk conversation
2. The successful tradeoff
3. Shared experience and knowledge
4. Promotional stationary
5. Let your passions shine
Okay, we’re going to take a closer look at these now. They’re only small points but they can play a huge role in how you get the most out of your shared office experience.
#1: The Art of Small Talk
There’s a lot of misconception about small talk. Many think it’s boring or icky, painful even, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Quite often, a simple “Hi” is enough to strike up a more meaningful conversation. There are also certain one-liners that are appropriate for particular situations. In the coworking space, for example, you might just ask someone how long they’ve been a member.
One of the easiest ways to make an early bond with someone you don’t know is to learn their name right away. All you have to do then is remember their name and make sure you use it from then on. See, when you address someone by their name it shows them some instant respect and makes you more approachable. Good socialization skills can take you far. The art of small talk is a skill that’s worth learning if you don’t yet have it. The secret is not to think too much about what you’re going to say. A simple “Hello,” while making good eye contact, is usually all you need to strike up an exchange.
Those who prefer to keep to themselves are never going to realize their full potential. Nor are they going to tap into the valuable network of talent found in coworking centers. It’s good to talk, but listening, that other side of conversation, is even better. Some of the greatest conversationalists in the world are those who say little and listen a lot. They learn more too!
#2: The Successful Tradeoff
Coworking is a shared concept and one that works incredibly well. That doesn’t mean everyone is constantly asking to borrow this or use that, though sometimes a successful tradeoff can take you far. Networking is not only about conversations and the exchange of ideas; it’s also about getting on with others in a proactive way. A little give and take here and there can contribute in this area. An example might be between a graphic artist and a blog writer.
Let’s assume you’re a writer and that you’ve formed a good bond with a graphic artist at the center. And let’s say the graphic designer offers to make you a nice logo for your business. OK, so far so good. But don’t take without suggesting something in exchange. Perhaps you could offer to write them a nice “About Us” page for their new website. This is a good example of how to exchange small services for the mutual benefit of both parties; it is successful networking in action.
#3: Shared Experience and Knowledge
At Office Evolution, our professional coworking spaces have a pool of talented members. These are people who understand the benefits of sharing their experience and knowledge with others. This doesn’t mean members are leaking all their trade secrets or giving away their best ideas. It just means there’s an openness that helps to interconnect people in ways that benefit all. Once people know who you are and what it is you do, you’re then in their memory. Think of it like a latent business card that they can call on whenever they need it.
Let’s say you’re a computer programmer but very few people at the coworking center know about it. Because of your low profile, other members can’t offer you work or recommend your services to others. Now, if you do a small job for someone, or show them how to do something, you then get to show your skills. This will reinforce your knowledge and experience into the minds of those you help. Small acts like this can often lead to much bigger gains in the future. Asking someone what they do is also a good conversation starter in a shared working space (see tip #1 above).
#4: Promotional Stationary and Items
The fourth tip on how to network in coworking spaces is a subtle way to promote you and push your services. Who isn’t in need of a pen sometimes or a piece of paper because they’ve left their own bits at home? This is a golden opportunity to carry some inexpensive promotional stationary around with you. It is a smart and economical way to promote you and your brand. Whatever it is, if it’s useful and has a space where you can display your name, business and website, if you have one, then get it printed. These will be cheap items that you are happy to hand out for free.
Promotional stationary and other items is much less “in the face” than trying to push a business card onto people who haven’t asked for one. Word will soon get around that you’ve always got a few spare pens and other bits to give away. Before long, everyone will be carrying a little bit of you around with them.
#5: Let Your Passion Shine
The fifth tip is something that can attract others to you like bees to a honey pot. When you can talk about what you do with genuine passion, others like to hear about it. Passion is what makes the impossible possible. It is a contagious emotion that provides momentum, which in turn helps you drive your business ideas forward. Other people see this and want to be around you and your positive energy. There is nothing more proactive than a positive buzz. Successful networking in coworking spaces has an air of positivity that brings out the best in those who work there.
Some folks intuitively know how to network in coworking spaces, whereas others have to learn it. This is a simple skill and one that can yield many incentives and positive outcomes. Networking in the shared office is often low-key, yet with high rewards. Remember, people do need people. The more you connect with those in your coworking space the sooner you get to expand your horizons and move your business ideas forward.
Contact Office Evolution Hackensack, NJ to find out how our coworking center can help you to advance your network and propel your business forward.
At Office Evolution Hackensack, we provide virtual office, coworking, and private office solutions. We offer meeting rooms, offices, a coworking lounge, a shared reception, a business address, and virtual receptionist services. We have many options and price points, and all terms are flexible. Plus, you become part of a community of like-minded professionals.
Whether you live in Teaneck, Bergenfield, Maywood, Teterboro, Hasbrouck Heights, Moonachie, Little Ferry, Rochelle Park, Dumont, Bogota, River Edge, New Milford, Hackensack, Englewood, Paramus, Tenafly and other communities nearby in Bergen and Essex counties, choosing Office Evolution Hackensack in New Jersey will help you be more professional, productive, and profitable.