As we continue to explore ways of connecting and having meaningful gatherings, options of doing so continue to present themselves. One option in particular is your local co-working space. As an event professional, my approach is to work from within the community and think of innovative ways to strengthen what already exists. Since co-working spaces are becoming the go-to for building professional community and working amongst like-minded persons eager to grow and learn together, I decided to take a closer look at how to effectively collaborate with these spaces. Below is an interview from co-founder of Second Shift Chicago, Levi Baer. He provides great advice on the do's and don'ts when partnering with a co-working space. Take a look and leave a thought below in the comment section.
If someone is seeking to host an event at Second Shift, what do you look for in a partnership?
We are a new organization, just a few months old, so at this point the best event partners for our co-working space are people bringing a complete event production and just need a host. We don’t have the capacity to be finding all the panelists, sponsors, and figuring out the run of show, so the more that is handled by the partner the better! That said, we always use our platform and network to help promote events and bring in our community as well.
We also look for a values fit; we want to work with people that share our goals of community building, collaboration, and personal and professional advancement!
How can the partnership be a mutually beneficial relationship?
The best partnerships for us are ones that benefit both us and the group bringing the event. I always ask the facilitators if they want to sell as many tickets as possible, try out a new concept for feedback, or some other goal so that we can help support with how we plan the event. On our side, we want it to be something of interest to the coworking community, which can be about entrepreneurship, networking, or some social cause that many of our community members may care about.
A great example of this is a partnership we have now with liftUPlift who is hosting events with us this summer that boost their work supporting women entrepreneurs. In return for us providing a great event space they are helping to promote our coworking space to their community, which is a very mutually beneficial relationship!
What pitch materials should a potential partner prepare?
We try to streamline the process by asking questions of potential partners on our website . In general we want to know who the organization is and what kind of work they do, what are the goals of this event, and what do the logistics of this event look like. For example, we are a great space for workshops, but can’t accommodate large parties, so the more clearly potential partners describe their event the easier it is for us to decide if we are a good fit.
Post event, what follow-up tips can you offer?
Help clean up! You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) by how many people don’t help clean at all whether it’s asked of them or not. Your host is tired and wants to go home just like you, so a few extra hands at the end of the night goes a long way.
Sharing pictures that both parties can use on social media is also great, or if you’re posting directly, tag the host so they can retweet/repost, etc.
I also think constructive criticism is helpful. Especially for us as a new company, if people tell me something like “this whiteboard doesn’t work here” that type of information is helpful so I can make it better for future events! Sandwich it with some positive feedback and I think most people will be open to it.
Other noteworthy advice you would like to offer...
Be authentic. Don’t sell yourself, your business, or your event as anything other than what it really is. That way you can find partners that are a great value match, which not only give you a good home for an event, but the possibility for a lasting professional relationship!
To book your next event at Second Shift, visit: Second Shift Rental Request