14 Tips to Make the Most of the GWA Shared Workspace Conference

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The shared workspace industry is growing and evolving quickly. For space operators and service providers, it’s important to keep up with industry changes.

Conferences are one of the best ways to connect with other professionals, find out about new industry offerings and products, and get a glimpse into what’s coming down the pike.

The upcoming Global Workspace Association (GWA) Shared Workspace Conference brings together shared workspace operators and industry service providers. This year, due to Hurricane Irma, the conference was moved from Miami to Brooklyn, New York, where it joins forces with NAIOP and the Office Evolution Conference.

Satellite Deskworks will be at the GWA Conference demoing our flexible workspace management software. We’ll answer your questions about coworking software must-have features, providing 24/7 access in your workspace, making members more self-sufficient, IT in your shared workspace and how to scale a coworking space.

Here are 14 tips to make the most of the GWA Shared Workspace Conference:

1. Know who will be at the conference

Before heading to the conference, take a look at the speaker list and the sponsors. Make note of anyone you’d like to connect with.

2. Schedule meetings ahead of time

If there’s someone you want to talk with, schedule a meeting ahead of time. Don’t assume you’ll be able to approach someone on-the-fly and be able to talk. Scheduling something in advance ensures you’ll have time to cover what you’d like to talk about.

3. Study the agenda

Which presentations are must-attends for you? Which panels look good? Which ones don’t apply to you? To make the best use of your time, have a good idea of how you’ll use your time. There are usually a number of things competing for your attention at a conference and knowing your must-dos in advance can reduce last-minute confusion and missed opportunities.

4. Give yourself free time

The flip side of having an agenda and scheduling meetings is to save some time to look around without a goal. This leaves you open to the serendipity that comes with conferences, and will give you an opportunity to learn more about the shared workspace industry.

5. Know why you’re there

Are you attending the Shared Workspace Conference to catch up on industry trends? To learn about current software and IT offerings? To connect with fellow shared workspace operators? To promote your brand? To educate yourself about the coworking and shared workspace industry? All of the above? Prioritize your conference goals and check-in with yourself while you’re there to make sure you’re on-track to reach them.

6. Get curious

At the conference, there will be people you don’t know, products you haven’t seen and ideas you haven’t heard. Get to know people, look at things you don’t understand and ask questions. This will serve you at the conference and give you more ideas to take home and implement in your space.

7. Be active on social media

Conferences are a great way to engage with people on social media. There will be conference hashtags, people will likely be live-tweeting from presentations and panels, conversations will be had, and quotes and insights will be shared. Join the conversations, share your perspective, and don’t forget to use and follow conference hashtags. It’s the best way to follow social media conversations and share your thoughts and observations with conference attendees as well as people following the conference from home.

8. Make personal connections

There will be lots of opportunities to connect with people within the shared workspace industry. Remember that the strongest connections are made on a personal level. Connect with people as a human. Lead with your name and a smile, then talk shop if it’s appropriate. The shared workspace industry is a close-knit, global community driven by personal connections, including those made between space operators at the Shared Workspace Conference.

Satellite Deskworks helps automate your shared workspace so you can focus on doing what you do best. To learn more, schedule a free demo.

9. Connect with the experts

Perhaps the biggest perk of attending a conference is that you’ll have easy access to industry experts and veterans. Introduce yourself, ask them questions, offer your thoughts on their work and ideas. People who have established themselves as industry experts are generally super-busy and can be hard to get in touch with. Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with them in-person.

10. Avoid overwhelm

You can’t do it all, so don’t try. Pace yourself, trust that the connections you need will be made, and enjoy the conference hustle and bustle.

11. Participate

In the shared workspace industry, and at the GWA Shared Workspace Conference, everyone has something to offer. To a new space operator, the insights of experts can help them further their own business. To a veteran space operator, the fresh perspective of an industry newcomer is invaluable. Share your thoughts, challenges and insights during group discussions and one-on-ones.

12. Limit outside work

We’re all busy, and there will always be work to-dos you could be doing. Keep outside work to a minimum during the conference and take advantage of this valuable opportunity. Let your team know you’ll have limited access to email, set an email autoresponder, and limit the amount of time you spend on outside work as much as possible.

13. Be present

If you’re having an interesting conversation with someone, continue it or carve out time to finish up later. While the keynotes and official sessions stand out as the big draws of conferences, sometimes the most valuable and lasting connections are made in side conversations and breakout sessions.

14. Follow-up with people

When you get home from the conference, follow-up with people you met and would like to stay connected to. Send an email that it was nice to meet them, or send any information or next steps you’ll take. These follow-ups are best done within a day or two of the conference while the energy and momentum are still there. Plus, the longer you wait, the less likely you are to send the email.

Bonus tip: Bring your business cards

Chances are good that someone at the conference will ask you for your business card. Make sure yours are current and keep them on you throughout the conference.

What tips would you offer attendees of the GWA Shared Workspace Conference? In the comments, let us know. We’ll see you there!

To see Satellite Deskworks in action, schedule a free demo.

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Cat Johnson

Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking and community. She blogs about coworking at catjohnson.co.

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