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Getting the Most out of Shared Office Space Events

Getting the Most out of Shared Office Space Events

If you work in a shared office space, chances are, you have been invited to networking events and turned them down. Maybe you were actually busy, or maybe you thought they would be a boring waste of time. Actually, these events can be incredibly beneficial, and any business person serious about their growth should invest some extra attention into them.

Networking events can help you expand your network (big surprise, right?) of colleagues, mentors, customers, employees, friends, the list can go on. You never know what kind of connections might spring from them. And we are all familiar with the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”.  This is a valuable benefit to working in a Chicago shared office space.

This can also be good field experience if you tend to get nervous at social events or talking to others. Building up your self-esteem and rapport during these events can help you be a better communicator.

Not to mention, these events can actually be fun! They are usually free to attend or offer a discounted group rate. Many times you will have access to people or events that would be harder to come by on your own. Last year, Amata hosted an event for the Israel Idonije Foundation and attendees were able to mingle with him and snag autographs. We are based in Chicago, where entertainment, knowledge, and good-will are aplenty.

But whether you attend networking events to network or just have fun, there are a few things you should do in preparation to make the most out of them.

Pre-Event

  • Do your research. Do whatever research you can on the event and attendees beforehand. If you know who is going, you can plan a list of people you would like to try to connect with, maybe even do a little research on them on social media. Think that sounds creepy? We definitely all do it.
  • Bring the kiddies. Well, not really. But if you are the boss, decide if this is an event you want your employees to attend as well. It may be offering useful information your team could benefit from or just giving you and your employees some time to bond outside of work.
  • Pack your goodie bag. You don’t need much, but a few key things will make the difference. Bring plenty of your business cards for exchanging, a pen or two, maybe some breath mints, and your phone with a working camera (we’ll get to this later).
  • Practice makes perfect. Feeling the pre-party jitters? A lot of people get social anxiety. If this is you, try doing something to relieve tension or relax you before the event; play a game of tennis or take a hot bath, etc. Also, practicing your greeting can help you avoid stumbling over your words when introducing yourself to others.

During the Event

  • Figure 8. When you first arrive, resist the urge to pick a corner and hide. You are here for a reason, and if it’s not because you are outgoing and enjoy activities, it’s to network. So network. Do a quick figure 8 through the space to see if you recognize any faces from the office or your list of people to meet. Put a smile on your face, even if you’re not feeling it.
  • Keep it short and sweet. While it’s not speed dating, you do want to try to limit each individual interaction to 5-10 minutes each. Get a quick feeling on if you have mutual business needs with this person and only give them your card if you feel like you do. Don’t waste your or someone else’s time with false leads.
  • Take good notes. Keep track of the connections you make. With each business card you receive, write notes on the back about where and when you met them and a few keywords about how you connected with them. You may even want to keep an event log that you can use to keep track of your events, contacts you made, and any pertinent education you obtained at them.
  • Record and share. Another huge benefit to shared office space events is the free content you can use for your company’s social media. Sharing what you and your company do outside of the office garners a lot of attention. Take photos (hence the working camera phone above) to share on your company’s Facebook page, Twitter, etc. Clients appreciate seeing the personal side of business. Posts of you and your employees at a networking event are great ways of personalizing your social media presence.

After the Event

  • Follow up. Really there is only one thing that matters here. Follow up. If you don’t, your purpose better had been entertainment, and we hope you had fun. But you are missing some great opportunities for free networking. And who doesn’t like free? Try to take some extra time the following day to contact your new connections and invite them to continue the conversation at lunch or coffee.

And that’s it! Follow this guide and you will be ready to successfully network at a Chicago event, where you’re most likely to meet loads of bright, interesting new people, and expanded your market reach!

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