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Coworking Community Building: Onboarding and Events

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Day 2 of the Coworking Europe Conference is the Unconference day! How does it work? Everyone can propose a discussion topic, you pitch it in front of the audience to attract people to join it and once you meet, you share the experiences on the subject.

From my point of view, it’s the best moment of the (Un)Conference in terms of sharing experiences, best practices and finding support and inspiration.

My former colleague Stefania and I proposed a session on community building/management, focusing on onboarding new members and on how to foster the collaboration between the members through events. Around 50 people joined, it was a wrap!

Since it’s all about sharing, here are the outcomes of the unconference.

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Onboarding new members

When a new member signs up you have follow and support him/her in his first steps in your community. Not everyone is extroverted and it can be scary to join a new space where you don’t know anyone. A good start is to offer him/her a coffee (or breakfast, or an apple..anything that you can actually eat is fine!) and make him feel at ease. Some community operators attending the meetup are used to send a guide with useful information on how your space works, useful information and all the ways to contact you. Someone suggested to assign to the new member a task, like watering plants, to make him/her feel part of the community right away. Remember to add the new member to your Slack, Facebook group, Google Group etc and introduce him/her to the other members virtually. Online connection is good, but above all, talk with him/her, listen and understand why s/he’s joint your space, what does the new member need and how you can help. I have a rule that I apply with new members, on their first day I have to introduce him/her to at least two members. Putting them in contact in person with the other members is the quickest way to make them feel at ease in your community.

Events

We identified 3 kinds of events to boost the community in a coworking space: networkinglearning and socializing.

    • Networking Events: to foster the work collaborations between the members. A nice example is the Networking Night organized by Talent Garden, or the Coworkers Introduction Rodeo & Whiteboard of Opportunities by Betacowork.
    • Learning events: to share the knowledge between the coworkers. A member gives a workshop to the others, in this way they can learn something practical and improve their business and the speaker gains visibility (and maybe come clients!).
    • Socializing events: we all agreed on the fact thatfood is the best connector ever. Food puts us in a good mood and we are more open to have a chat when we are eating a cookie. So, organize breakfasts, lunches or apéro and involve your coworkers.

To organize quality events you have to understand what your people are looking for. We suggested to send surveys to find out the subjects your coworkers are interested in and the best hours to organize the activities. And, once again, speak with them, listen to them, engage with them :) Remember, your goal is create opportunities of relationships.

Thanks for all the people who came sharing their experience! See you next year and stay in contact with me on twitter, follow @LaSaz :)

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About Sara Magnabosco

I'm in charge of marketing, communication, community building and events @betacowork. After graduating in Management of Organization I moved to Brussels to join the Betacowork team. I'm passionate about travel, sport...and chocolate! I write about coworking @GamobuNews.

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