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Coworking Convos Grows Up: What’s Next for this Community Project?

coworking-convos-grows-up

I just got a notification on my phone that someone registered for this month’s Coworking Convo on marketing coworking post-COVID.

It’s the 249th notification I’ve received for this one.

Sometimes an idea is just an idea, but sometimes it turns into a thing.

And Convos is definitely a thing.

So, what’s next?

I want to share with you my vision for Convos moving forward, some of the bumps we’ve hit, and a few ideas on how to next-level the project.

Creating Space for Convos

There is no shortage of virtual events and webinars. I had six on my calendar last week and there’s no slowdown in sight. A lot of the virtual content is really valuable and a great way to keep up with industry trends, best practices and pivots. It also helps us connect with our coworking mates.

But Convos is designed to stand out—to offer something different from traditional webinars and virtual events. Convos are, by design, community-focused events, that have enough structure to keep people engaged and coming back, and enough openness to keep things hyper-relevant, collaborative and coworky.

Serving the Coworking Community

As with all of my work, the intention with Convos is to serve and connect coworking space operators. Coworking changed my life, it changed your life, and it’s changing the lives of your members.

No small thing, right?

The way I see it, when I support you, you can better support your members in becoming activated, empowered people who are more engaged in their work, lives and the world.

Coworking is game-changing stuff and I’m grateful every day to be part of the movement.

Global Glue

After last month’s Convo, which had participants from around the world, including Pakistan, the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, El Salvador, Bulgaria, Spain, France, Romania, Italy, Argentina, Australia, the States and more, my friend Jen Luby from Dayhouse Coworking called me our “global glue.” We had some fun with that one on social media, but it meant a lot.

The thing I’d change, however, is to say that Convos are our global glue. They would be awfully boring if just a few of us showed up. The magic of Convos is that people join by the hundreds.

We had 402 registrants last month and I imagine we’ll see somewhere in that neighborhood again this month.

This makes me smile at the fact that we initially wondered if 25 people would be too many.

The Dream Team

Thanks to the help of a dream team of moderators and co-hosts, including Karina Patel, Kim Seipel, Liz Elam, Stormy McBride, Hector Kolonas and Daryn Dezengotita, I can start the Convo and do what I do, knowing with absolute certainty that everything in the chat, waiting room and participant experience will be handled. That’s an amazing feeling and I’m so grateful to get to collaborate with such smart and generous people.

Convos would not be what they are without our special guests who share ideas and tips, get the conversation started, and set a community tone. We’ve had dozens of guests kick things off, and countless participants jump into the conversation. This is part of the Convos magic. It’s one thing to hear from industry experts, it’s another to hear from people doing the same work, facing the same challenges, and working toward a shared vision.

Focus on the Similarities

It’s important to me that Convos are, and will remain, free to space operators. That way, anyone can join the conversation—whether you’re an operator who has scaled to dozens of locations or you’ve just opened a single, neighborhood space. There are far more similarities between those two than you might think, and it’s important that we all learn from each other.

Everyone has a superpower. When we gather together and share, that’s a lot of superpower going around.

If you’re feeling like you don’t fit into the global workspace scene, you might be focusing too much on the differences between you and other space operators. Focus on the similarities instead and step into the community. You have a place here.

Our All-Star Sponsors

To support Convos, I’m using a sponsor model. What appears to be an informal, one hour event once a month, actually takes weeks of planning, coordinating, promoting and collaborating before we even get to event day.

I’m incredibly grateful to our Convos sponsors and have learned a ton from working with them.

Having engaged partners who see what I’m doing and are willing to be flexible in how we move toward the vision for Convos is everything. My Convos partners, CloudVO, GCUC Community, and included.co have helped me shape Convos from the start. I connect with Karina and Kim from CloudVO, Liz and Stormy from GCUC Community, and Hector from included.co regularly to bounce ideas and talk about ways to improve Convos.

I have a similar, collaborative relationship with my friends at Allwork.space, our media sponsor. I’m in regular contact with Digital Marketing and Content Manager, Daniel Lamadrid, to find ways to further our individual and shared goals. It’s been a joy to work closely with the Allwork.space team, including Frank, Ceci, Jo, Mike and Daniel, to get the word out about Convos, as well as other coworking and marketing projects.

I’m pleased to welcome our newest Convos supporter, Metigy, to the team. Metigy is a social marketing tool that uses AI and some cool technology to streamline marketing across social channels. I’ve been using Metigy for a week and I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen. I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it can do and am looking forward to diving deeper into it.

Hand-picked for You

Convos sponsors are hand-picked because I take the trust of my community very seriously. The companies you see represented, including our Community sponsors, Satellite Deskworks, Women Who Cowork, IP Society and Spheremail, have all been vetted by me. The integrity of all my projects is my highest priority. If I lose your confidence, I have nothing. Every decision is made with you—and coworking—in mind.

I’m growing Convos intentionally and with care. If you know a company or organization that’s a good fit for sponsorship, please get in touch.

Convos Challenges

One of the biggest challenges with Convos is the time zone issue. We have people joining Convos from the middle of the night for them. Literally, we had people talking in hushed tones because it was 2am and they didn’t want to wake their housemates or family.

I’m flattered at such heroic effort…and I want to do better for you.

There are two ways I see that we can fix this:

One is to go International with Convos. I’m talking to potential partners about bringing Convos to Australia, the UK and more. Stay tuned for more about that.

Changing the Model

The second way is to offer recordings. By design, Convos have not been recorded. They are a live experience that works because people show up and participate. But I receive so many requests for recordings from people whose time zones don’t sync up with Convos that I’m changing the model a bit.

As you may know, I’m relaunching the Coworking Content Lab as a subscription service that provides marketing resources and prompts, group coaching, exclusive and first-look content, worksprints with me and more.

The Lab also includes access to the Coworking Convos Archives, starting with the May Convo, as well as a recap of the Convos chat. This way, Lab subscribers get all the marketing tools, access to me and their peers, and Convos recordings.

My intention is to have the Lab be a go-to resources and powerpack to help you simplify and improve your workspace marketing. I’m soft-launching the Lab to the Coworking Content Alliance on Tuesday, and publicly launching on May 28. If you want early access, drop me an email.

Trusting Our Community

The plan for Convos was to have three to six months of events scheduled in advance. But something happened along the way: a global pandemic hit and I realized that by keeping the schedule flexible, Convos can stay an incredibly relevant platform for the community to discuss what’s happening right now and the best steps to take with marketing, communications, branding etc. moving forward.

At this point, Convos are planned a month out and announced during each Convo. This lets current Convos participants be the first to save their place in the next one.

We have some fantastic topics lined up, but while it’s all COVID all the time, we’re staying on-topic. We’re still determining what the June topic will be but by the May 29 Convo, we’ll have it pinned down and open to you.

As ever, get in touch and let me know what you’d like to talk about, what you’re struggling with, and any other ideas for improvements and level-ups.

Coworking Convos is an exercise in putting a platform in place, then letting go and trusting our coworking community.

The results have been inspiring.

To everyone who has participated in, helped plan, sponsored, spread the word or otherwise strengthened and imbued Convos with good energy, thank you, thank you, thank you. We couldn’t have done this without you.

I’m excited to see what we can do from here.

xo,
Cat

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