7 Great Reasons to Attend a Networking Event

Business networking mixers are important to the long-term professional and entrepreneurial success of most individuals. These events provide a relaxed atmosphere to chat with like-minded people, and the conversations that happen there can lead to career opportunities, and potential ways to collaborate.

Yet networking is more than just self-promotion or trying to grow your business. Its true purpose is to expand your network of friends, connections, and customers. Networking events are a great opportunity to practice and refine your sales pitch, and start relationships that will lead to strategic referrals, alliances and cooperation.

Finally, networking is about building and nurturing relationships, gaining credibility and trust, and showing off your professionalism, knowledge and expertise. Going to networking events gives you a closer look at future trends, industry obstacles and potential solutions. This information can in turn give you an advantage over the competition.

 

Below you will find a list of 7 great reasons to attend a networking event:

  1. Increase Your Visibility – Establishing top of mind awareness is critical in any marketing campaign, and make no mistake about it, attending business networking events is a key marketing strategy if done properly. Make sure your face and your message get in front of the same people on an ongoing basis.
  2. Socialize – Human beings are social animals and need that type of stimulation available when interacting face-to-face with others. Today, as more and more people work out of their attics, basements, or spare bedrooms, it has become increasingly important for us to socialize, and recharge our batteries.
  3. Start Relationships – Contrary to popular belief, very few people walk away from a few hours spent at a business networking event with a fistful of contracts. Meeting people at the networking function is merely the important first step towards reaching your client attraction goals. Follow-up is key to deepening the relationships that will increase your bottom line.
  4. Connect With Key Influencers – Instead of going to every business networking event in town, select the networking events you attend wisely and attend regularly. Do some research. Find out which organizations attract the people you want to meet and you will get the biggest return on your investment of time.
  5. Stay Current on Trends – Attending networking events given by your professional association—or associations related to your target market—allows you to glean information about current and future trends. The information you gather at these functions can easily give you a leg up on your competition.
  6. Hone Your Marketing Message – Use business networking events to practice and refine your elevator speech. Make sure it conveys in 30 seconds or less what solutions you provide, for whom you provide them, and the benefits of doing business with you.
  7. Recruit Talent – If you are looking to expand your business and hire staff, business networking events are a good starting point for your exploration of the marketplace. You will be able to enter into conversations with potential employees and get clear on what your needs are.

 

Join into our event at the Mosaic Centre on Saturday, December 29 here: Resolve To Relate 

EOCC City YEG: The Workshop Eatery

From the bustling downtown bistros to the greasy neighbourhood steakhouses to the countless donair shops that dot the north end like stars, Edmonton’s best food is all around us, usually in places we least expect. But would you believe one of the city’s best-kept secrets can be found in what looks to be a massive greenhouse on the southside? The priMed Mosaic Centre is a one-of-a-kind net-zero energy building, located in Summerside, and it’s home to the Workshop Eatery.

Established just three years ago, this modern eatery offers visitors handcrafted, seasonally focused cuisine – comfort food with a hint of adventure. Since then, it’s been named Best New Restaurant by Where Magazine only a few months after opening, hailed a mouth-watering experience by the CBC and ranked third in Avenue Magazine’s 2017 Best New Restaurants list. “The food consistently delivers,” Avenue wrote. “Add in the fact that many of the ingredients are locally sourced and you’ve got a place that will steal any foodie’s heart.”

The Backstory

Paul Shufelt is a classically-trained chef who sharpened his trade in Banff, Montreal and Switzerland before carving out a permanent niche in the ranks of Edmonton’s culinary heavy-hitters.  He spent nearly ten years refining his own personal style in favorite Edmonton restaurants such as Lux, MKT, and Hart’s Table before stepping out on his own in 2015 to launch Workshop Eatery. His goal was to offer great, local food in an approachable setting that would build a gastronomic bridge between classical and more moderate palates.

 “We want our customers to feel like guests…and to offer the experience of people seeing us work in our open kitchen”, he says. “That’s what we’re striving to achieve; a seasonally focused meal, using local ingredients whenever we can. Preparing things from scratch, handcrafted, delivered in a warm, genuine environment. No one’s going to look at you awkwardly if you drop a fork or if you can’t pronounce a word on the menu.”

What’s In A Name?

The name “Workshop” organically surfaced as Shufelt’s forward-thinking vision converged with the Mosiac Center’s unique design.  As Shufelt and his associates contemplated the big, rustic garage door that partitions the restaurant from the rest of the Primed Mosiac Center, “Workshop” just felt right.  The Primed Mosiac centre with its open-concept, high beamed-timber-framing and floor-to-ceiling- living wall, is Alberta’s first net-zero commercial building, and is the perfect complement to Shufelt’s regionally focused, rustic vision.

  “Workshop Eatery resonates with what we’re trying to do here,” Shufelt says. “We wanted to offer the experience of people seeing us at work in our open kitchen. [We] really liked the idea of capturing that raw, authentic feel.”

Standing Out From The Crowd

To Shufelt, the three key components to standing out as business include top-grade hospitality, supporting other local brands and using what’s closest and on hand – in Workshop’s case, that’s local ingredients, grown fresh from the restaurant’s garden.

“You can get a warm meal and a cold drink anywhere but we wanted to provide a different experience, get to know our customers, make them feel like home,” he says. “Having the luxury of being able to grow a lot of produce right in front of our restaurant, four to five months out of the year, is an advantage and something that sets us apart.”

Key to Success

Shufelt’s advice to aspiring restaurant owners and chefs boils down to one thing: be ready to work hard because the industry is a lot harder than people think and if they’re not willing to make that sacrifice, they can lose a lot of money fast!

“It’s gonna be harder then you think,” he says. “I meet a lot of people in this industry who have no idea what they’re getting into. They see the romantic side of being a restaurant owner. Do your homework. Be open-minded to learning and growing will help you grow far in your career.”

What’s Next

Shufelt’s future for Workshop Eatery includes a stronger focus on catering, recreating its signature experience in private event spaces. But whether it’s fine dining for 8 or catering to 800, the Workshop Eatery experience isn’t going anywhere but up.

Register now for Resolve To Relate Tomorrow, December 29, At The Mosaic Centre! Click here.

The Best Of YEG

Edmonton, the City of Champions, YEG, Festival City—whatever you choose to call it, this city is home to a vibrant community, exceptional arts and culture, a stunning river valley, an innovative culinary scene and world-class entertainment.

EOCC launched YEG Tours on Friday, September 28, offering participants an opportunity to discover everything the city has to offer. Don’t worry if you missed the first one! We’ll be running tours throughout the year, so keep an eye out for the next event. There’s always something new to try, no matter how well you know Edmonton, so we’ve gathered some suggestions to get you started.

Dining

Edmonton has experienced a culinary evolution that has elevated the city’s dining options from the ordinary and expected to eclectic and daring. An entire post could be devoted to the city’s restaurant options alone—even then, it would be a lengthy read, and new spots continue to open at a steady pace.

Of course, there’s staples like Sabor, Chef Daniel Costa’s trio of eateries (Corso 32, Uccellino and Bar Bricco), RGE RD, Padmanadi, The Next Act, Tzin Wine & Tapas, Noorish, Three Boars and Lux—this is by no means an exhaustive list—that have become mainstays in most Edmontonians’ dining repertoire. But there’s plenty of newer options to try, like Bar Clementine, Baijiu, The Holy Roller, The Moth Café, Pip, Wishbone and Atlas Steak + Fish.

Nightlife

What would a section about Edmonton’s nightlife be without mention of the Ice District, which includes Rogers Place—home of the Edmonton Oilers and unforgettable concerts, including recent shows by Sam Smith, Keith Urban and The Smashing Pumpkins—Grand Villa Casino and numerous components currently under construction.

Across the road from Rogers Place is Mercer Tavern, a lively watering hole with plenty of beverage and dining options for lunch, dinner and late night. A few blocks south will take you to Jasper Avenue, arguably downtown’s central nightlife street. Jasper Avenue is home to many of the restaurants listed above as well as The Station—another great place for live music—Central Social Hall, The Bower, Red Star Pub, On the Rocks, Urban Tavern and The Common (just off Jasper), to name a few.

South of the river is historic Old Strathcona and the famous Whyte Avenue, where you’ll find the Black Dog Freehouse, O’Byrne’s Irish Pub, El Cortez, Have Mercy, Blues on Whyte, The Buckingham and Brick & Whiskey Public House.

Arts & Culture

Edmonton has certainly earned the moniker Festival City. YEG hosts festivals year-round, and popular options include the Fringe Festival—Edmonton hosts the second-largest Fringe in the world, behind Edinburgh—A Taste of Edmonton, K-Days, Interstellar Rodeo, Free Will Shakespeare Festival, the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, Servus Heritage Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Cari West, Ice on Whyte Festival, Silver Skate Festival and The Works Art & Design Festival.

Beyond Edmonton’s plethora of festivals is the central Arts District. There you’ll find the architectural beauty of the Art Gallery of Alberta (be sure to check out the gallery’s late-Refinery parties), Royal Alberta Museum, Winspear Centre (home to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) and the Citadel Theatre, where you’ll find a diverse program of plays and regular improv performances from Rapid Fire Theatre.

But Edmonton’s arts scene doesn’t stop there. Old Strathcona is filled with its own blend of performing and visual arts. Explore the Whyte Avenue Art Walk or take in a show at the Varscona Theatre and Walterdale Theatre.

This only scratches the surface of what makes Edmonton special, and the best way to uncover its hidden—and not-so-hidden—gems is to take the time to explore. Whether you’re new to Edmonton or have lived here for years, play tourist every now and then. You never know what you’ll find.

The Power of Entertaining

The Power of Entertaining

 What comes to mind when you think about building business relationships? One of the first is likely one-on-one, face-to-face meetings or attending networking events. Each of the aforementioned tactics has its own merits, but don’t underestimate the power of entertaining to help you close a deal or land a new client.

Author Eddie Osterland coined the term “Power Entertaining,” a concept that holds immense potential in the business world—if done correctly, that is. Your clients often don’t want to be in stuffy meetings any more than you do; it’s important to build a rapport outside the office to further connect with them on a personal level, which has the potential to strengthen their loyalty and trust in you.

So, what is Power Entertaining? According to Osterland, it’s about “creating an experience for guests, built around great wine, great food, great company and great ambience. It’s about giving people enjoyable memories that cause them to remember you fondly and make them want to do business with you in the future.”

It’s Part of Business

Business development can—and should—include a dose of Power Entertaining. Create memorable company events throughout the year, complete with guest lists that include current and prospective clients. Events are a great way for your company to make a lasting impression and build much more organic relationships, particularly with prospective clients. Set a budget for Power Entertaining at the start of the year and stick to a schedule of events—quarterly, for example—that appeals to your network.

Be a Good Host

If you’re going to plan a memorable event, then you need to be prepared to be an equally memorable and enthusiastic host. Make each guest feel special, and take the time to chat with them throughout the events. The same level of hospitality should also be extended to any plus ones who may be in attendance. You never know who they know, and word travels equally fast if an event is a positive or negative experience.

Serve the Best

As Osterland said, great food and great wine are two key elements of Power Entertaining. Consider working with a new restaurant in town to provide guests with an unexpected culinary experience, and put some thought into the types of wine you’ll serve to create proper pairings—this is where it doesn’t hurt to look into a sommelier or experienced wine merchant. If your event is right after work, as many business events are, serve your best food first. Most events save the best for last, but guests at after-work events often drop by early and don’t stay late, so you don’t want your best dishes to go to waste. Make sure you have nice plates and glassware on hand to elevate the event further, as well as an experienced bartender.

Don’t Forget the Favours

A small take-home item will contribute to the memorable element of your event. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant to make an impact, but consider an item that’s useful to your guests. For example, Osterland suggests providing guests with nicely designed cards that outline the food and wine pairings served throughout the evening. It may seem small, but any added touches will contribute to the event’s overall experience and guests’ anticipation for your next event.

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