I’ve been hanging around CoMotion On King for about a year now. During this tenure, I’ve learned a thing or two about the growing sport of coworking.
While some of this could be considered a common-sense approach to working anywhere, there are definitely a few nuances.
Unlike a traditional office setting, being among a collection of sole-proprietors and small businesses means things are naturally more entrepreneurial. No one is there to merely clock-watch. There’s a self-motivated energy that permeates. These pointers can help you channel that energy and, perhaps, convert it into opportunities. Or, at the very least, make your coworking experience that much better.
5. Lose the ear-buds… at least once in a while
The need to be social can conflict with the drive to succeed. In a normal office, there are often piles of people willing to chit-chat and burn a little time off the clock. For the self-employed types, time is money. But, lifting your head up and engaging with those around you can reveal opportunities – whether that’s with a business within the space, or through someone’s network.
4. Make coffee trips conversational
Much like the above, taking advantage of opportunities to introduce yourself and engage can be both personally and professionally rewarding. Generally speaking, the person on the opposite side of the coffee maker is probably a lot like you – so, likely, they’ll be up for the introduction. These are the conversations that can often lead to an “oh, I know someone looking for that”, or “have you talked to these guys yet?”
3. Attend a few events
I’ve talked before about some of the really cool events that CoMotion hosts. These are a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the community. Ideally, you run into a few recognizable faces at these events that you see during the day; that provides a great opportunity to expand those kitchen conversations – often over a beer. But, it’s definitely not a necessity. Since “networking” is often in the event description, that’s what typically happens. Everyone is ready for the random introduction and passing of business cards, but it’s also a chance for networks to cross-pollinate. You introduce who you know, and they introduce you to who they know. All you really have to do is show up and, ideally, be relatively approachable.
2. Know who your fellow coworkers are
This takes things a little bit deeper than friendly hellos at the coffee machine, or knowing that Steve is a big Winnipeg Jets fan. This is about checking out the directory and knowing what businesses you share your coworking space with. Here at CoMotion on King, I’ll periodically check out the directory map at reception and maybe do some LinkedIn sleuthing. That can help pinpoint where opportunities may lie – whether directly with that business or individual, or with their network. Plus, it’s an easy way to inject some substance to the small talk. Sure, talking about the weather is great and… wait, no, it can be pretty painful… but, asking a relevant question about someone’s business can generate plenty of mutual interest.
1. Be nice
Being nice might be the single most valuable personality trait you can have in a coworking setting. In a conventional office, we’re forced to put up with the grouchy curmudgeons, regardless of their annoyances. They’re almost a fixture – every office has at least one. In a coworking space, those types are easy to avoid. So, put on a smile and crank up those people skills – your helpful side could come in handy. Without giving away the farm, offer up some on-the-fly consultation or maybe an exchange of services. It’s an effective way to showcase your skills and break into another network.
Overwhelmingly, the major benefit of working from a space like CoMotion is the people. They provide the energy and vibe that helps motivate you every day, as well as the opportunities to create professional connections. It’s easy to see why coworking spaces like this are becoming more popular. And without much extra effort, you can significantly enhance how rewarding your experience is.