Serendipity is the fuel of our new networking economy, and our locations build the platforms that facilitate these meetings. In coworking lounges, meeting spaces, offices, deskspaces, office 4 a day, eventspaces, etc.etc.etc.
There are a million ways for 2 or more people to meet each other, but it’s also quite scary sometimes to meet someone new. We are experimenting with many ways of doing this, and we’d love to hear about your experiments and ideas on new and better ways.
The serendipity machine
The serendipity machine is a great tool to facilitate meetings, even before people come to our locations. Make sure everyone at your location checks in to TSM, and invite others to participate even if they’re not working on your location.
Here is a blog that aims to invite more people to TSM by granting WIFI after you check in.
Food and drinks are a great part of many culture, because they invite for a small break where you can meet new people, catch up with the ones you know and share your knowledge to help them out. To stimulate more meetings, many s2m locations organise coffeebreaks, a moment where the whole group gets up and meets each other. There are many ways to do this, here are some suggestions.
1. Stand in the middle of the lounge, and invite everybody for a break in 5 minutes. 5 minutes after that you say ‘break starts now!’, and you just let it happend. This open break takes different forms every day, but it always works.
2. Create a circle during the break, and ask everyone in it to share what they are bringing to the table, and what they are looking for today. Perhaps someone else in the circle is able to help them out!
3. themed breaks. Create a poem for valentine, a scary way of mentioning your request for halloween.. If it’s fun, it breaks the ice a lot quicker in the whole group.
4. Invite a trainer or coach to help you out in creating a more specific program for these short breaks. Many of them have expert knowledge about group dynamics, knowledge sharing and building trust within a group to get to the comfortable level needed for true sharing in no time.
5. Invite anyone in the value network to host these breaks. It’s a valuable role (you are in the center of the network for a moment, and investing 15 minutes of you time to help others has never harmed anyone), and it gives you time to participate and enjoy or to work on other things.
Events and workshops
Themed events and workshops are a great way for groups of people to meet. If you have a room available, and a coach who has a cool workshop, why don’t you sponsor this workshop and invite a random selection of people to join and get to know each other while gaining new knowledge from that workshop. Even better, host a big event with 10 workshops, and drinks afterwards so you can reach and facilitate a larger audience.
There’s a whole bunch of tools you can use to communicate your local culture. In Amsterdam, we really try to set up a culture where it’s clear that from the moment you walk in, everyone is open to meet you and help you out. We use some very simple tools for this.
How about you?
We’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts in the comments!