How to Network in a Coworking Environment
If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, working in a coworking space can provide more than a desk and an internet connection. When you’re in close vicinity to other working professionals, you can expand your client base. Coworking spaces are great for networking because there’s a strong chance that others in the area will have shared interests.
Cowork networking can feel more comfortable when you have the right skills in your back pocket. With the strategies below, you can jumpstart your outreach goals the next time you head to your coworking space.
Start Friendly Conversations
Networking requires an outgoing and friendly personality. If you’re naturally shy, you’ll need to put your game face on and pretend to be extroverted so you can make contacts. One way to cowork network is to strike up friendly conversations with your neighbors.
If someone is sitting beside you at a communal workstation, try asking them what they’re working on or how their day is going. If you’re near the water fountain filling up your water bottle, make a general comment about the atmosphere in the room and see how the person next to you responds. Once you receive a friendly nod, you can spark conversation and gently lead it in a business direction.
Take Work Breaks
In the same vein as the first tip, you’ll need to take work breaks if you want to talk to others. Remaining head down in your computer the entire time you’re coworking won’t serve you well when attempting to network. Make it a point to take breaks for snacks, water, or just to rest your brain. During these breaks, try to look around and see who else’s eyes may be wandering. These individuals may be great targets for conversation.
Attend Coworking Events
Some coworking spaces host events for the purpose of building community and networking. If your goal is to meet like-minded professionals and build your contact list, then you should attend every professional event you’re invited to. Even if it seems awkward at first, you could end up meeting someone at one of these events that becomes a lifelong client of yours.
Change Up Your Work Location
Coworking spaces often have various options for where to set up shop. Many people find a favorite spot and choose to sit in the same place each time they co-work. If you want to meet new people and expand your reach, try changing up your workstation each time you go to your coworking space. If you usually sit in the center of the communal table, try sitting in the corner near the window next time. Each time you change seats, you’ll expose yourself to different people and new opportunities.
Ask for Feedback
One idea for cowork networking is to ask the person next to you for feedback. While you don’t want to disrupt someone else while they work, you can quickly lean over and say, “Hey, I don’t mean to bother you, but can you read this sentence and tell me if it sounds awkward to you?” They likely won’t say no, and once you receive their feedback, you can thank them and offer to return the favor. You’ve now created a relationship with this person, and you can ask for their contact information when they leave.
If cowork networking feels uncomfortable for you, you can always resort to online networking. Thankfully, we have social media specifically for this purpose. You can bulk up your LinkedIn page and reach out to individuals that are relevant to your business. You can also connect to your coworking space through LinkedIn and find individuals who are also members of the space online. The Internet has many ways to connect and grow if you know how to use it.
Host Your Own Events
Once you’ve built a list of contacts, you can try hosting your own events. This will put your name out in the world and allow others to network during your event as well. It’s possible that your coworking space will let you host your event there. The important thing is to stay open and communicate with everyone you can while you’re trying to expand your business.
Working remotely has become the new norm for many freelancers and entrepreneurs, but if you want to gain clients and network naturally, then a coworking membership can be a great investment. If you live in the New York City area, reach out to Bevmax Office Centers to learn more.