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Ahh, networking: Perhaps you tense up at the idea. Or maybe you get excited by the chance to connect with others. Regardless of your view, it’s safe to say it can be an essential factor in advancing your career. And if you work in a coworking space, which are usually chock-full of thriving individuals working in a variety of jobs, there are few better places to nurture professional relationships.

“Networking is an important skill, and your communal coworking space is a natural place to practice it,” says Robert Kraemer, Life Time Work manager in Minneapolis, Minn. “Whether you’re connecting with someone in your specific field or someone on a different career path, connections can be beneficial for everyone involved.”

To help you take full advantage of these networking opportunities, Kraemer shares some practical tips.

1. Be present.

“There is a lot discussion right now about return-to-office and in-office time, but I believe it’s always easier to make connections face-to-face,” Kraemer says. “I suggest showing up in person as often as you can. If you don’t go in every day, know what days are the most popular in your coworking environment so you can be sure to schedule accordingly. Watch the calendar and attend as many of your location’s networking and social events as possible.”

2. Be mindful and authentic.

“People choose to work with others not only because of what they do, but because of who they are,” says Kraemer. “Read the room. If you’re trying to ‘plug’ a project you’re working on, make sure it lands at the right time. And don’t feel pressured to talk shop if it feels forced into the conversation.

“Share personal tidbits about yourself, like your hobbies. This will help you engage and find commonality with your audience. When the time comes to discuss professional endeavors, you have their attention because they feel like they know you.”

3. Engage with your community on social media.

“When you meet someone in your coworking space, ask to connect with them on LinkedIn,” suggests Kraemer. “Then, interact with their content and occasionally add relevant comments. Your support will be noticed by the poster and their network. Bonus: If your comment adds value in some way, you may find others perusing your profile and reaching out to connect with you.

“Before you do this, make sure your own LinkedIn profile is up to date and accurately reflects the work you’re doing, both in your job title and also in the content you’re posting,” he emphasizes.

4. Share your ideas and needs with your community leader.

“If networking is integral to your business growth, make that known to your coworking space’s location leader,” advises Kraemer. “Ask about ways to be highlighted in the space or to cohost an event on a relevant business topic. You could also ask to host a social event in the space and engage with other members that way.”

5. Bring in snacks or swag.

“As a coworking leader, I can tell you that nothing wins the hearts and minds of people — and locks in RSVPs! — better than a giveaway,” Kraemer says. “Food is just one example, but you could bring in snacks from a new bakery or nearby coffee shop and leave them in the community kitchen along with a note and your personal business cards. The snacks will disappear and hopefully you’ll get a connection out of it.”

6. Be a reciprocator.

“No one wants to feel like they’re giving to everyone and getting nothing in return,” Kraemer says. “Find ways to be an advocate for others in your space with whom your values align — even if it’s not totally related to your specific business. Being a cheerleader for others feels good and likely will attract similar energy your way.”

Callie Chase
Callie Fredrickson

Callie Fredrickson is a content editor at Life Time.

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