A networking event includes a lot of benefits and value, but even more so by hosting it at a coworking space. Read on.
It’s close to the end of the year, and no year is complete without an obligatory sendoff. While our options might be limited in the pandemic age, many places and spaces are still open and safe to host events for a small, discrete gathering of like-minded individuals.
It’s at these types of events that the best opportunities for networking arise.
Networking, even more so than any other aspect of business, is about the relationships between human beings. You aren’t just establishing a professional connection. Under ideal circumstances, you are endeavoring on the beginning of an important bond that leads to mutual success and continued cooperation.
In the digital age, networking is easier than ever – but quantity has not necessarily translated into quality. The strongest, most useful business connections are often still forged face-to-face.
But which spaces are best for this kind of event? If your goal is to host and meet as many people in the industry as possible, you need to find a space that has already hosted a lot of industry specialists. That is why coworking spaces are the perfect match for networking purposes.
What is a Coworking Space?
A coworking space is a large office space open to paying members, who pay for the privilege of using its workspaces, private rooms, meeting rooms, and amenities to work, collaborate, brainstorm, hold meetings, host clients, and join events.
Coworking spaces are used by small teams and larger departments alike, by entrepreneurs and by contractors, by freelancers, and by sole proprietors. Coworking spaces offer the ideal workspace for startups and the satellite teams of multinational conglomerates alike, and most coworking spaces distinguish themselves from others by catering to a specific niche, industry, or local innovative spirit.
What sets a coworking space apart from any other office space is the people in it. Coworking spaces aren’t rented out for the day by one team or person – they are a shared space for dozens of different professionals, some of whom might be working on similar projects, or with vastly different goals in mind.
Coworking spaces are unique in that they foster an environment of sudden, unexpected, and serendipitous cooperation, where partnerships and teamwork emerge from casual conversations over coffee, a shared interest, or a quick chat in the lounge.
What makes a coworking space ideal for a networking event is that coworking spaces are already hosting organic networking opportunities each and every day. A networking event simply creates even more of an excuse for current and prospective tenants to mingle, interact, converse, and learn more about their shared interests, circumstances, professional goals, and challenges.
Benefits of Hosting Events at a Coworking Space
Coworking spaces are more than just an office floor. They often have common rooms, large break rooms, muffled or private meeting rooms, focus rooms, outdoor access via a terrace or balcony, and countless other amenities.
By necessity, coworking spaces are always in a central location, with plenty of available parking space, high-speed internet, and all the necessary equipment for top-of-the-line teleconferencing for remote invites.
Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of hosting an event through a coworking space.
Coworking Spaces Build Communities
The opportunity to host an event through a coworking space provides you with the means to tailor your audience. You don’t have to limit your selection of professionals to the people working under the same boss, or all the members of a single niche industry.
A coworking space invites professionals from all over, with both shared interests and wildly different backgrounds.
These are the ideal ingredients for a networking event – people with vastly different skillsets and experiences, with histories that overlap only partially, and common goals within their respective industries.
Hosting a networking event at a coworking space lets you forge stronger bonds between the people utilizing the space as a place to concentrate and work, giving them the opportunity to meet some of the people they work with, and perhaps leading to professional partnerships, collaborative projects, or completely casual friendships.
Networking Events Create Interest for Prospective Members
For coworking spaces themselves, the allure of any hosted event is that it brings more people into the fold.
Coworking spaces are like clubs or local societies, with members that share a common interest in having the same type of work environment, without necessarily working on the same thing, for the same person, or with the same intentions.
Networking events help professionals and teams meet new and interesting contacts while helping coworking spaces catch the attention of new potential tenants and future interested parties.
Important Coworking Etiquette
While networking and coworking go together like strawberries and cream, it’s important to differentiate between organic networking at a coworking space, a networking event at a coworking space, and joining a coworking space explicitly to network.
The first two are great, and intended use cases for coworking spaces where people come to work, first and foremost. The second, however, can be a violation of many a coworking space’s terms of service, and can negatively affect a person’s reputation. Do not join a coworking space explicitly to find clients, forge partnerships, or pester people for info.
Don’t get the wrong impression! People can and do collaborate on projects through coworking spaces. But these collaborations should happen organically, and with the mutual interest of both parties. Anyone joining a coworking space is ultimately looking for a productive and interesting environment in which to focus on their own business, do work, and explore alternatives to regular office spaces or working from home.
Coworking spaces are ideal for all sorts of different events, but it’s when events are built to bring professionals together that they shine the most. If you are a member of a coworking space, and want to seek an opportunity to learn more about the other people working at the space with you, or are interested in forming professional partnerships with the people around you, talk to your space’s management about potential or upcoming networking parties.