The Co-working Diaries

Networking in Co-working

Co-working spaces can be very productive if you hunker down with your headphones and zone out. But you are missing out a lot if you are not networking.

Break the Ice and be conversational.

Learning the art of striking up a conversation requires courage. Initiate conversation near the coffee machine or copier room by asking simple questions or by saying something pleasant. Always avoid sensitive topics such as religion, politics and gossip. Keep things focused on having a conversation, rather than pitching your business.

Some Ice Breakers:

  s“How long have you been at this place? “

  “Your work is great!” – Before initiating, research the background of that person

  Conversations about weather

  I saw your latest blog post, it was sharp and smart

Conversations and building relationships is what Networking is all about. Concentrate on creating a strong relation which means people will remember you, make them feel that you are worth spending time with.

Trading work:

For example, you’re a graphic designer and another co-worker practices website development, suggest a trade of services. Everyone who sees his new business cards will learn that you (the person sitting at the desk right there) designed them.

When you meet someone who offers you something you need, try swapping it for something that person might need. The benefit of this approach is that other members of the co-working space might hear about your services without you having to outwardly promote it.

When you come across someone who needs your services, try exchanging work trades. By doing this everyone in the co-working space comes to know about your services without you having to outwardly promote it.

Sharing knowledge:

The most prevalent trait of prosperous people is that they share knowledge. They share everything that they know, thereby helping their congregation. Obviously there’s a difference between sharing knowledge and trading secrets. And sharing what you know establishes trust that in turn leads to future benefits. It’s highly likely that at some point you’ll be on the receiving end of useful knowledge.

Creating useful promotional materials:

Instead of distributing pamphlets or brochures about your business, pens, sticky pads, board pins and staplers with your business name and URL are all the things that are needed to promote your business around a co-working space. You can leave them on your desk, in meeting rooms, near the printers and in some cases, the break room, for free. Because these are useful items that are routinely needed in co-working spaces, people will seek them out rather than you needing to push them.

Passion on full display:

There’s an enormous difference between selling a service and letting your passion speak. While selling, you convince the customer to buy something but when you simply let your passion speak, you arouse curiosity and build relationships.

There are chances that the person with whom you talk doesn’t need your services but they’ll definitely refer you to someone in their network whose needs them. They’ll do this because you are fun to talk, they like you and would like to help you.

The potential for networking within a co-working space is one of the major advantages. You can use the co-working space the way you want. It can be much more than a workplace, you build relations and networks with potential customers and make new friends. When done right, this networking can be low-key and feel as simple as having a conversation with new friends.

-Zishan Inamdar