I’ve mentioned before how important I think networking is for young professionals. Although statistics vary, it’s quite clear that is how people are growing their businesses and finding new opportunities.
I recently found Tuni Talks on Twitter, where I find out about most things going on in the city and liked the idea. They’re bi-weekly networking events featuring different speakers and best of all, these events are free.
Upon arrival, the room was already pretty busy, I grabbed a beer at the bar (I like beer with my networking) and started chatting to a few different people. About 20 minutes later, the host Kurt announced the networking icebreaker, to find someone you hadn’t spoken to and tell them something fun about yourself. Apparently, we both hate roller coasters (why anyone finds that fun, I don’t understand). After a few conversations, it was time for the speaker. Last night’s speaker was Warren Coughlin, a business coach and entrepreneur. The talk was about growing your business and common mistakes people make when they’re trying to grow their profit. Although the talk was not really related to my career, it was still interesting advice.
After the speaker, I chatted with a few more people and left around 8:30pm, I was there about 2 hours. I met a bunch of interesting people and plan on going back in the future, likely in November.
The next Tuni Talks takes place on October 21st, the location is still being determined but you can follow on twitter for updates. The speaker at the event on the 21st will be Toronto Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, should be another engaging event.
We’ve heard it a thousand times, and now you’ll hear it again “your network is your networth”. Over the past year or so, I’ve realized how important networking is. One of my first posts on the blog was about a networking event I went to. I’ve been trying to grow that network ever since for so many reasons. Yes, it could possibly help you get a job someday, but it could also help you build side projects (like my blog), make friends, get new contacts because you never know when you’ll need to find a fire eater, and there may just be one in your network (this is a semi-true reference to my life). One of the best speakers I’ve ever seen is Bobby Umar, his line about networking is not about what I can get from you but it’s what I can do for you, which is great, maybe you can help a new local company, maybe you can make that connection that will land someone their dream job – wouldn’t that be an awesome feeling?
So anyways, back to the event. Although most of us have accepted that like booking our own dentist appointments or paying our bills, networking is part of being a grown-up. But that doesn’t make it fun or easy – until now. Beerworking is exactly what it sounds like, it combines the networking with beer. It’s designed for young professionals who know that this is an important part of our careers but hate being thrown into a room with a bunch of business cards, not knowing what to do. Even though I was going with a friend, I was still feeling nervous, until I read the event description and thought “no, this is going to be fun”.
My friend and I signed in and we were given a few beer tickets and some instructions. Our first beer ticket was for our first half pint and we would receive samples throughout the network-speed-dating and two tickets for after the session to enjoy two more half-pints while continuing conversations with people or starting new ones with people we hadn’t met.
My friend and I headed over to get our beers (the event was sponsored by Wellington Brewery, great beer by the way, definitely will come up in some thirsty thursdays in the next couple of weeks). We started talking to a few people, we arrived on time and it was a little empty. The event was in an open meeting room like space so it was easy to see and speak to people. About a 45 minutes later, the room had filled up nicely and an announcement was made and the speed-networking would begin.
We stood 6 people to a table, one side of the table would rotate after about 5-7 minutes to the next table. The extremely lovely Crystal Luxmore, beer writer for the GridTO walked us through how to properly “taste” beer and each one of the beers we tasted. The table also had a list of talking points for each of the beers, in case you encountered that awkward networking silence, but to be honest, I didn’t have that problem at all.
I learned about some great events, great companies (some of which I hope to feature on the blog in the future) and met some great people. Although I was glad I came with a friend because that always makes things easier, we definitely did not stick together all night. We talked to different people and made different connections.The event wrapped up around 9pm, a perfectly reasonable hour and I went home with my clutch full of business cards (and myself, full with a little beer).
I would highly recommend this event in the future, in fact, I plan on attending the event on April 30th sponsored by Beau’s because, I love Beau’s and I really found some value in the event. Tickets are $25 for the event which includes the beer I mentioned and some snacks (popcorn, chips, pretzels). The last event had a 2 for $40 that I took advantage of, I don’t know if the same promotion will run again but the event is definitely worth the $25. I’ve even convinced a few friends to join me at the next one.
The next three events are April 30th, May 14th and May 28th. Check the website or their twitter for the brewery details and to follow along with this awesome event. If you know you need to start networking but the whole idea terrifies you, this is an event to try, everyone is so great, friendly and welcoming. If you’re someone is who is really comfortable with networking, you should still come because it’s a great way to meet young professionals doing some pretty remarkable things in this city. Hope to see you there!
I also grabbed dinner before the event next door at the chickery. My friend wanted to include his short review!
“The chicken finger sandwich was incredible. Hot sauce would have made it perfect. Don’t bother trying to fool yourself that you’re being healthy by getting the collard greens and get the mac instead.”