11 Jun Networking Like Pro
Sharing a work space, possibly with several strangers seems a bit intimidating, doesn’t it? But as you enter the arena of ‘coworking’ spaces, you realize it is not as scary as it sounds. The co-working mentality is one of openness. You don’t have to share your trade secrets, but sharing your knowledge can not only help a fellow co-worker, but also lead to future gains. It’s likely that at some point you’ll be on the receiving end of useful knowledge.
The open, harmonious and internally connected work area fosters a better interaction with like-minded as well as different individuals. Lounge areas and other common areas in shared office spaces often become a breeding ground for networking, sharing information and knowledge with fellow co-workers. It is an opportunity to interact with people from varying professional backgrounds, diversity and cultures who would likely be a useful connection and this in turn can be converted into generating leads and partnership opportunities.
Since no one wants to be known as the guy who markets like a car salesman when everyone is trying to concentrate on their work, spreading awareness about your business in a co-working space requires being respectful of the people and the space when you talk about your work or business. The most important aspect of any networking dialogue is being authentic.
Well, think about it!! Connections are made when you’re open to making them. Sometimes it’s that simple. Whether you’re standing in the kitchen brewing some refined coffee, strike up a conversation with someone or 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.
You could also propose a work trade. In the midst of interacting with different entrepreneurs, you may meet someone who offers you something you need, try swapping it for something that person needs. The benefit of this approach is that other members of the co-working space might hear about your services.
Networking comes down to good social skills, which is difficult for some people. It all boils down to listening and being interested in what the other person is saying, rather than just waiting for a pause to talk about yourself. Have an authentic conversation with somebody. Really be interested in meeting your fellow member. If they ask what you do, you can offer that, but they may or may not ask and you may not need to provide that because it may not be the right moment to talk about yourself.
It’s often said the life of an entrepreneur can be a lonely one. Starting conversations isn’t always straightforward, but once you’ve started talking to someone it’s not that hard to make a connection. As a wise man once said warmth, genuine curiosity, and a sense of shared abundance (as opposed to competition) can go a long way with anyone. It’s all about positioning yourself out there and being determined to learn something new from everyone you meet.