Even the most extroverted among us can feel the weight of being the new kid on the block. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. A huge chunk of our members are remote workers, meaning they might not have a built-in network of employees to befriend. Even for those who do, the coworking community is all about inclusion.
Comfort is different for every person but we’ve found that when members are new to a space, it really helps to get a tour so that you know where things are, like the bathroom, the kitchen and phone booths. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know the staff at the space, as they are your go-to contact while you’re there.
So, when in doubt, ask a manager. Managers will let Deskpass members know everything that’s available to them on-site, and provide suggestions for how to best use their space, for example: Where do you take phone calls? Is it ok to talk on the phone in the open coworking area? Are there designated quiet areas? Those kinds of things.
It’s their job to make sure everything is running smoothly and they want you to have the best experience possible, so don’t shy away from asking them questions that will help you better acclimate to the space.
Consider your body language
We don’t want to tell you how to act but we will say that body language is a huge indicator of how approachable people perceive you to be. It can be tough if you’re shy (I feel you on this!) but a smile really does goes a long way. When you pass people in the hall or kitchen, smile and say a brief hello. You can usually gauge if a person is receptive to chatting more.
For example, headphones are a big indicator. If you’re looking to meet new people, wearing headphones says “I’m not available to talk” and also vice versa. If someone is wearing headphones chances are they’re not open to an intro at that time so perhaps try saying hello when you see them grabbing coffee.
Take advantage of communal spaces
Communal spaces, like kitchens, lounge areas, game rooms and outdoor patios are perfect for networking. Even if you strike up a conversation with one person, that’s one person more than you knew five minutes ago. Grabbing your morning cup of coffee is an easy ice breaker, as it’s something most of us can relate to (caffeine fix, anyone?). Lunchtime is another great opening. Instead of eating at your desk, pull up a stool at the shared kitchen table and kick off a conversation.
A lot of introverts feel nervous about talking to new people. It’s completely normal and nothing to shame yourself for. As an introvert myself, one thing that really helps me is focusing on the other person. Ask them what their name is, where they are from, what they’re working on. Your genuine interest comes through and in turn, they’ll ask you some questions, too. Lead with curiosity and you’ll always learn something in the exchange.
Attend an evening networking event
As a Deskpass member, you get access to a series of monthly events across 14 cities in the US. Networking can feel daunting but if you set a goal to meet 2-3 new people, consider the night a success. When it comes to networking, it’s really quality over quantity. Nervous about just showing up at an event? Plan to work at the space beforehand; that way, it’s a natural progression to go from work mode to network mode.
Join the Deskpass community
If in-person networking feels too daunting for you at this stage, you can still interact with Deskpass members via our in-app community. Introduce yourself on the main feed or join a group to get specific details on a particular aspect of coworking. We even have groups where members can post job openings at their companies and where job seekers can express interest in new opportunities. Starting conversations via our community is an ice-breaker as well, because you’ll start recognizing members who you’ve interacted with online, in person at a coworking space.
In case we forgot to mention… we’re a monthly membership that currently gives you access to 500+ coworking spaces in 20 cities including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Houston, Denver, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Seattle, D.C., and Raleigh / Durham. Deskpass is a fantastic way to explore coworking, get you out of your home office or your local cafe and around a bunch of vibrant communities of lovely folks.