Talking to a total stranger is never easy. You may watch your peers in awe as they effortlessly glide across the room, an endless stream of smiles, laughter, and the much vaunted power handshake. I’m willing to bet that when they first started out they were just like you, unsure, hesitant, perhaps even feeling a tad out of depth. And therein lies the truth. Socialising isn’t just a talent, but rather a skill. And like all skills, it can be learnt, perfected and adapted as you see fit.
What makes a coworking space unique compared to other working environments is it’s community. As a member of this community, the ability to engage and connect with your fellow members as they come and go is a must. However not everyone is a social butterfly who can strike up a conversations on a whim. For the rest of us, this doesn’t mean we have to retreat into our shells and lead solitary lives at the office. Here are a few simple tips to help you cope with the inertia of constantly having to socialize with strangers.
It’s always hardest to get started
Have you ever experienced the feeling of waiting for a roller coaster? The feeling of trepidation that strikes you the closer you get to the front of the line. And then you actually get on the ride. It’s never as scary as you imagine. That is how I feel about socialising with strangers. It can be terrifying to take the plunge, to find your first conversation partner, but once you do, it will feel worlds better. You can take the initiative, or ask for an introduction, or even respond to someone approaching you. The key is to get started.
Listening works too
It’s important to remember that a conversation is a two way street. Being a great listener is just as important as being a great speaker. If you happen to be engaging with an extremely eloquent individual, there’s no harm in providing a listening ear. Networking is as much about learning as it is about selling yourself or your brand, and its fine to let someone else set the tone for the conversation, especially if you tend towards being an introvert.
This may run the risk of sounding cliché, but a positive attitude truly does make a difference. It always helps to show a genuine interest in what people have to say; they may be just as nervous as you are, and any support you share will benefit you both. Most people at coworking spaces are in the business of forging connections and sharing ideas, not putting people down or thrashing their opinions. Chances are, even if they aren’t interested, the least they will do is let you down easy. The best people you meet will even offer some constructive advice, perhaps pointing out some mistakes or areas for improvement.
At a coworking community like The Carrot Patch, every day is filled with opportunities to strike up conversations with an eclectic group of members. Use this chance to refine your networking skills and connect with your peers. It’s a warm inclusive environment that doesn’t judge and always provides you with the opportunity to grow. So swing by, sink your roots deep and grow with us.