And that’s a good thing, as growing your professional network is critical to your success. That includes talking to people, meeting them in person (if possible) and showing them how what you do could make their life easier, better.
But there’s some serious ick in planned networking: awkward introductions, the empty “So what do you do?” question and the horror of standing alone, drink in hand.
Right within your coworking community, networking opportunities abound without the discomfort of having to network. Get the most out of your coworking membership with networking that is easy, natural (and fun) to do:
Start with this simple coworking networking approach
When you’re in coworking mode, it’s easy to seal yourself off in your mind space — the work you have to do, the goals you have to reach, the time you don’t seem to have.
Keep your networking simple…
Whether passing in the hallway or prepping your coffee in the common area, a smile can break down barriers and let people know that you’re friendly. That simple gesture opens up opportunities for a conversation — if not right then, at another time.
And like a smile, a simple hi can spark a conversation and lead to a connection. After all, you are part of a community that has so much to offer — including leads that may need your business.
Skip the “What do you do?” question (at least at first)
Not sure how to start a conversation without feeling like you’re networking? (“So, what do you do?” can certainly feel weird and network-y.)
Instead, go with your common interest: “So, how do you like the coworking thing?” This simple question can open up opportunities to talk about each other’s work — naturally.
This is not your parents’ networking
Your coworking community hosts regular events that provide opportunities for connecting with other professionals. It may be a speed networking event. Like speed dating, it’s fast and fun (and it eliminates the too long, all-about-me conversations).
Also, stick around for your coworking space happy hour. These are great, because people switch off work, grab a drink and hang out — all in a shared space everyone knows so well. Without the distractions of a bar, conversations flow and connections happen.
Get the most out of your coworking space
You can go to your coworking space, hunker down in your private office or with your headphones on in the shared workspace, and get stuff done. But all work and no peer interaction will make growing your network really hard.
In fact, there’s a queen’s ransom-worth of networking benefits at your coworking space:
- Create meaningful relationships with your peers
- Feel energized being around smart, like-minded people
- Get inspired by chats over coffee or lunch (right there in your community nest)
- Grow a rich support network (“Goodbye, Loneliness”)
No discomfort. No fake-sounding introductions — just connecting with people you like who may need your skills or have skills you could use. You won’t even know you’re networking!
Already a HAYVN member? Get your networking goddess on at any of our events. Interested in a coworking membership (with awesome meet-and-greet opportunities you won’t get at home, working alone)? Reserve a time to try out HAYVN today.