Have you ever been in this situation—investing tons of energy, resources and time to organize an event for your coworking community, and eventually, you end up with just a few people attending?
Feeling stuck or confused about what you did wrong (or if you did something wrong at all) is normal.
First, it’s not that easy to constantly come up with creative ideas about super-cool events that would be interesting to everyone and would bond the community.
And second, organizing great events, is a complex matter which includes research, people management, logistics, marketing, coordination, often dealing with budgets and stakeholders, the list goes on…
The good news is that you can use some “hacks” that will help you organize events that your members will love and attend!
But before we move to the tips, let’s put this question on the table:
Why are people not coming to your coworking events in the first place?
Not being interested in this particular event is a possible reason, but there are plenty of other circumstances such as:
To help you find out why you end up with not enough visitors and what to change to attract more of them, we’ve listed a few tips below.
Read on! 🙂
When talking about bonding your community, you might often end up thinking about your members’ professional role only. But sometimes, community bonding happens outside professional activities.
Your people might be doing marketing all day, 5 days a week and a marketing workshop might be the last thing they’d like to attend after work. But instead, they’d enjoy an inspiring wine degustation or a relaxing yoga workshop that would help them get their mind off of work.
Of course, this doesn’t mean to stop hosting professional events, but to mix them with something different and see if this will work.
Consider not only the interests of your members but their lifestyle too. Do they have kids? Do they do sports after work? Are they often on work trips? Do they live far away from your coworking space?
If you’re a parent and you have to take your kids from school, help them with their homework, do the laundry, make dinner, and find time to rest in between all this…staying at a Beer Friday event after work is just not much appealing.
Such members might be a lot pickier about events and would prefer to plan much in advance so they can find who to look after their kids while they’re away, for example.
Or your members might be fitness-addicts who don’t miss their evening workout session. They might think the Board Games night that you’re hosting would be lots of fun, but the only way to make them stay for an event would be to organize an intensive Tabata class.
These are just a few examples but you get the point. Knowing your members’ work and lifestyle will help you find the right events for your community. For inspiration about cool events, you can host, check out this article.
🔹Bonus tip: Choose dates and hours wisely.
In most cases, avoiding Mondays and Fridays is a good move. Most people are too tired after the weekend and have plans with friends on Fridays so chances they’ll skip an even on these days are higher.
Also, get to know at what time the majority of your members finish work. If they’re done around 5:30 pm and you host your events at 7 pm, they won’t be much motivated to stay. And on the contrary—if most of them prefer working till late you might want to make your events later too.
Even if you organize the super mega cool event but your members don’t hear about it, your efforts were in vain. You really need to invest time and energy into spreading the word.
The truth is that people are busy, tired, having a case of Mondays, wishing it was Friday…
They sometimes don’t see notifications; they need someone to create the hype for them; they sometimes need to be invited personally. And then to be reminded because they have 54854903 things on their to-do list and it’s easy to forget about an event even if they want to attend.
Make sure you’ve used all possible offline and digital channels to promote the event and you’ve been vocal enough. If you’re interested to learn more about how to benefit from digital channels, here’s a good read on how to use online tools to improve member engagement.
Digital channels and on-site promoting such as putting signs at the reception, in the kitchen, etc, are a must but don’t neglect your most powerful weapon—face-to-face communication. Go to your members’ offices and invite them personally. Greet them when you see them in the hallways and tell them about this amazing workshop you’re hosting next week.
Of course, be mindful not to interrupt them aggressively, especially when they seem much concentrated on a task or in a hurry, but don’t be hesitant to talk with them directly!
🔹Bonus tip: Invite the smart way
Here’s the trick—you have to “sell” the event, not to beg people to come. Rely on enthusiasm, positivity, and stress on the benefits people will get. Take a look at the following two examples:
Situation 1: “Hey, Sue, you’re coming to the marketing workshop on Tuesday, aren’t you? Come on, I’m trying to find a few more people to attend!”
Situation 2: “Hey, Sue, I’m sure the marketing workshop this Tuesday will be very useful to your startup. The speaker has been consulting tech startups for 10 years and told me he recently helped a fintech company triple their website traffic in just a month. Wasn’t that what you’re trying to achieve right now? Also, we’ll be having some nice drinks for the occasion. Will be happy to see you there!”
We bet the second sounds more attractive to you, too!
Ask your members for feedback and ideas and, if possible, do it face-to-face. Don’t rely on surveys only, unless you have that huge community that it’s just not physically possible to talk to the majority of your members.
Not that surveys are bad, but most people are extremely busy, overbooked with meetings, or simply have more important things to do, and a survey usually ends up in the never-ending to-do list or people totally forget about it…even though they are willing to share their thoughts with you.
And most of all, expressing your thoughts in a written form often gives less context and takes a lot more effort than sharing your thoughts over a coffee or a 2-minutes random conversation in the hallways.
So try to have more live conversations with your members. It doesn’t need to be anything too formal—a short talk while you’re making your morning coffee or during lunch would do the job.
🔹Bonus tip: Ask members to be specific
Encouraging members to be specific will help you identify their needs. For example, when they mention they enjoyed the last networking event, ask them what exactly they liked—was it the vibe, the drinks, the people they met?
And a final tip: Be patient! Finding the right fit for your space won’t happen overnight. It’s pretty much a trial-and-error method but as long as you invest effort in understanding your community’s needs, interests and lifestyle, things will come in place.
If you want to dive deeper into the coworking events topic, you can check the recording of our latest webinar, which answers these (and many more) questions:
Access the recording here: How to Grow Your Coworking Business by Organizing Events.
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