Hosting public events at a coworking space can be a great way to bring in new members, generate income, and create a sense of community within your coworking space.
There are many different types of events that can be held at a coworking space, ranging from workshops and seminars to networking events and social gatherings. In this article, we'll explore some of the most popular types of public events that can be held at a coworking space, as well as some tips for planning and hosting successful events.
Invite local experts to host workshops and seminars
One type of event that is well-suited to a coworking space is a workshop or seminar. These events can be educational in nature, covering topics such as business development, marketing, or personal growth. They can also be hands-on, allowing attendees to learn new skills or techniques through practical exercises and demonstrations.
Find local experts and practitioners who want to drive their own business, and see if you can partner to offer something valuable and educational. These may include:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Local BNI chapter
- Young professionals network
- Local meetup groups
- Real estate brokerages
- Mortgage providers
- Financial planners
- Family law teams
- Parenting groups
- Web designers
- Digital marketers
- Interior designers
- Business coaches
- College prep consultants
Should you charge for events at your space?
This decision should be driven by your purpose in hosting the event. Is your goal to make people aware of your space as an event location and coworking membership option? Then admission revenue shouldn’t be the goal. Consider the cost of the event as your marketing cost.
That being said, it’s often noted that people are more likely to attend an event they paid for, even if the price of admission was $5.
However, event space rentals can be a critical part of your revenue stream, particularly if you market them on your site and offer the ability for external groups to book the space right there. So you need to walk a fine line when you charge for organizations to use your space but invite others to use it for free.
To plan a successful workshop or seminar at your coworking space, start by identifying a topic that will be of interest to your target audience. You may want to consider partnering with a local business or organization to host the event, as this can help to attract a larger and more diverse group of attendees.
Once you've chosen a topic, it's important to find a qualified speaker or instructor to lead the event. This could be someone who is an expert in the field, or someone who has practical experience and can offer valuable insights and tips.
Host networking events at your space
Another type of event that can be held at a coworking space is a networking event. These events are designed to bring together professionals from a variety of industries and backgrounds, and can be a great way to build connections and foster collaboration.
Networking events can be structured in a variety of ways, from formal sit-down dinners to more informal mixers, “speed” rounds or happy hours. The format of your event will depend on your goals and the audience you are trying to attract. Those formats might include:
10 minute roundtable discussions. As attendees arrive, they are assigned to a table. They will speak with people at that table for 10 minutes. After the designated time, each seat is assigned to visit a different table.
Speed networking. Set rows of seats facing each other. Each pair can introduce themselves and chat for a set amount of time, probably shorter than the roundtables. One row moves seats while the other stays put. (Yes, it’s like speed dating!)
Pitch-style networking. Each attendee gets a 2 minute slot to step, introduce themselves and state the kind of opportunity they’re looking for.
Operationally, you can do a few things to help the networking be more effective:
- Have a check-in tablet so you can track who attended and follow up with information about your space.
- Either act as the host or have a host assigned to welcome attendees and answer questions about the space, timing, or expectations.
- Assign designated ‘connectors’ in your group to watch for anyone who might struggle to mingle, who isn’t part of a conversation, or who seems to be drifting away. These people can also facilitate introductions as they move through the crowd.
Open your space for social gatherings
In addition to more formal events such as workshops and networking events, coworking spaces can also host social gatherings such as happy hours, movie nights, and game nights. These events can be a great way to create a sense of community within your space and provide an opportunity for members to socialize and relax.
To plan a successful social gathering at your coworking space, start by deciding on the type of event you want to host. This might be a happy hour with drinks and snacks, a movie night with a screening of a popular film, or a game night with board games and other activities.
These events can be for your members only, or for members to invite friends who then turn into referrals. Or you can welcome the community at large, as a way to bring value to your local business district.
Some fun ideas for social events at your coworking space include:
- Talent shows
- Board game nights
- Trivia contests
- Host a “Murder” Mystery
- Silent Bookclub
Whether you're hosting a workshop, seminar, networking event, or fun social gathering, there are a few key strategies you can use to effectively market your event and attract a diverse and engaged audience.
- Utilize your coworking space's social media accounts and email list: Make sure to promote your event on your coworking space's social media channels and email list, as this is an easy and effective way to reach a large audience quickly. Be sure to include all of the necessary information about the event, such as the date, time, location, and any fees or registration requirements.
- Partner with local organizations and businesses: Consider partnering with local organizations and businesses to promote your event and reach a wider audience. This could be as simple as sharing each other's events on social media, or as complex as organizing a joint event.
- Promote the event through online event directories: There are many online event directories and platforms, such as Eventbrite and Meetup, that can help you promote your event to a larger audience. These platforms often have a built-in audience of event attendees, making it easier for you to reach potential attendees.
- Utilize offline marketing techniques: While digital marketing is important, don't forget about offline marketing techniques as well. This could include printing flyers or posters to hang around the coworking space or in local businesses, or even reaching out to local media outlets to see if they would be interested in covering your event.
- Offer incentives for attendees: Consider offering incentives for attendees, such as discounts on future events or coworking memberships, to encourage more people to attend. This can be a great way to build a loyal audience and encourage repeat attendance.
Overall, the key to marketing public events at a coworking space is to be proactive and creative in your approach. By utilizing a variety of marketing tactics and offering incentives to attendees, you can effectively promote your events and attract a diverse and engaged audience.