Coworking isn’t just an option for flexible office space. It’s an opportunity to connect and collaborate with other people outside your field.
That said, sometimes it’s difficult to network in a shared office space if you don’t know anyone. That’s why we compiled this list of our top-3 tips on networking in a coworking space, thanks to some helpful insights from our members.
#1 – Location, Location, Location
The beauty of having an open floor plan with a variety of “work zones” is that you can change your location many times in one work day. You could start the morning at a desk, eat lunch in the kitchen, and end the day working at a communal table. But the key to meeting people is finding the spaces where people are already having conversations. As our member Dan Wallace puts it, “More people nearby, more connections.”
This doesn’t mean you have to constantly sit in shared spaces to make connections, but it does help if you use your time in communal spots to reach out to others sitting around you, even if it’s just to introduce yourself.
#2 – Be Open
Connections are made when you’re open to making them. Sometimes it’s that simple. If you’re standing at the coffee bar, strike up a conversation with someone. Try working without headphones for a few hours. Offer to refill your neighbor’s coffee. Small gestures like this can lead to meaningful conversation – and new relationships – without much effort.
#3 – Weird Secrets
Some of the best ways to make connections while coworking are incredibly simple. As our member Neil Chudgar says, “Smile. Seriously. In my experience we’re all mammals first and professionals afterward; we’re wired to respond to bodily signs of social belonging.”
A warm smile can open up opportunities and allow you to connect with people you may have nothing in common with. But that’s the beauty of coworking, you can run into people you otherwise might never cross paths with if you were working in a traditional office.
Starting conversations isn’t always easy, but once you’ve started talking to someone it’s not that hard to make a connection. As our member Mo Perry points out, “warmth, genuine curiosity, [and] a sense of shared abundance (as opposed to competition)” can go a long way with anyone. It’s all about putting yourself out there and striving to learn something new from everyone you meet.
Do you have any networking tips for shared office spaces? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear them!