Olivia Walsh
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Coworking spaces offer unique networking opportunities that traditional offices lack. Because coworking spaces are not dedicated to one business, or even one industry, there are ample opportunities to meet different working professionals from countless different backgrounds, all in one space. Whatever industry you’re in, chances are you can make some pretty great connections in a coworking space. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to go about making those connections in the best way possible.

Organic Networking

Sometimes trying too hard can actually negatively affect your networking efforts. Instead, try to keep an open mind and see every opportunity to meet people, especially in the otherwise mundane daily routines. Grabbing a cup of coffee in the communal café? Strike up a conversation with others in the space — and you don’t just have to talk about work. Some of the best connections come organically, that’s why we put organic networking on the top of our list. Staying in the loop in your coworking space and getting to know your fellow members is most important; before you start really networking, you should become familiar with your coworking community and what it’s all about.

Ask for Feedback

Asking for feedback is an easy and natural way to start making some connections in your coworking space. Are you playing around with a new logo? Ask a few people what they think. Applying for a new position? Find some people in the industry and ask them for resume or interview advice. Chances are, people will want to help you succeed, so be open to asking for help or advice when you need it.

Support People

One of the best ways to network in a coworking space is by helping those around you. People are always going to be looking for help — maybe you can help a new freelancer how to set up her website, or share a piece of helpful marketing advice to a business owner. Coworking spaces are great because they are naturally collaborative environments, allowing members to work together to solve problems. Using your skills to help others is a great way to get your name out there in the community.

Community Events

Most coworking spaces do a great job of planning community events for their members — these are the perfect times to network with your fellow coworkers. Not only does a planned event take the pressure off of you to facilitate organic networking, but it is literally designed to get members talking to one another. Try to attend the events put on by your community manager and see what kind of conversations you can have with your fellow members!

Don’t Be Pushy

The worst way to go about networking is by being pushy — it comes off an inauthentic and pushes people away. It’s also annoying. If you are talking to people just to get something for yourself, it’ll be easy to tell. Instead of approaching others with sales pitches, try making genuine connections based on mutual interest. In a recent article about networking in coworking spaces, Iris Kavanagh, a coworking consultant, had this to say:

“When running a coworking space, I like to follow the 95/5 rule, which is 95% informational and 5% sales. I think that’s a good rule to practice in networking, as well. Networking is really about building real relationships with people—it’s not about talking about what you do all the time. If 95% of the conversation is informational, and maybe you’re giving them advice about what they’re looking to do, then you can follow that up by letting them know that you’re building a consultancy in that field and would love to talk more. Think soft sell and not hard sell.”

We could not agree more. Networking is about making connections that are mutually beneficial and will last, not just getting ahead.

Be Open

If you make an effort to be approachable, chances are… you will be approached. Spend a few hours a day without your headphones in (this signals that you don’t mind being spoken too.) Or work at different stations throughout the space on different days so that you surround yourself with new people. We’re creatures of habit, but getting out of your comfort zone can do wonders for you connecting skills. It’s easier said than done, but making yourself approachable is a surefire way of connecting with a few members every week.

Whether you are a newbie or an experienced coworker, networking is the greatest benefit of coworking space. Getting involved in the community is the best way to meet new people with similar values and career goals. It can be intimidating to talk to strangers, especially in our increasingly internet-based world, but you can start by just saying “hi” :)

Olivia Walsh