NZB0216 19 Network like its 1995 .pdf


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NET WOR K I NG

Network
like its

1995
DIGITAL NETWORKING IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE REAL
FACE-TO-FACE DEAL. SARAH SPARKS HAS PROOF THAT
REAL WORLD NETWORKING STILL HAS AN IMPORTANCE
PLACE IN THE MODERN BUSINESS LANDSCAPE.

I

n an age where social media has infiltrated society, cyber
networking through LinkedIn has become the norm. The
latest global membership figures show that there are
332 million people on the global networking platform,
including over a million Kiwis.
So why join a business association? Where is the value-add
in this digital day and age?
Offshore research shows that people pay their membership
for a host of advantages like:
• Networking opportunities that speed up integration into the
community.
• Political participation if specific issues affect the business
owners.
• Social advantages through the opportunity to attend events
and meet peers.
• Improved business climate through uniting in the community
and sharing resources.
Is this true in the New Zealand business community
context?
The answers from members of the French New Zealand
Chamber of Commerce and Industry are varied, yet share a
similar sentiment.
Very active in the business community, FNZCCI holds
numerous events throughout the year ranging from
celebrations like Bastille Day and Beaujolais Nouveau, through
to entrepreneur seminars, social pétanque and networking
events. Its primary purpose is to promote business ties
between New Zealand, France and the French Pacific Territories
Dominique Colombie, owner of Paneton Bakery, who’s been
a member for two decades, says he joined “to extend and
strengthen our ties with the French business community”. In
his mind, it’s all about the quality of networking and learning
from shared experiences.
Whereas another longstanding member for 13 years,

Benoît Marcenac, MD of Sofrana Unilines believes the reason
his company joined was “mainly as a social responsibility.”
Personally he values belonging to a community with a similar
interest.
Thibault Beaujot, forecast and promotions manager at
Reckitt Benckiser, a member for only a few months, seized
the valuable learning opportunity to “create a network and get
advice from other French citizens living and doing business in
New Zealand”.
The importance of networking face to face stood out as the
overwhelming reason to join the organisation. It remains a
fundamental part of the modern business landscape.
Top US academic Deborah Mills-Scofield, agrees. The Brown
University board member and Harvard Business Review blogger
says that “networking has enabled our survival for the last
2000 years”. It needs to be cultivated and treated well, she
advises, because networks promote communication and spread
knowledge.
So effective business associations grow networks. It’s
obvious. But why?
According to international social science research by
Professor Brian Uzzi at the Kellogg School of Management,
most people choose to interact with others based on three
strategies:
• They identify people in their network often with the same
qualities that they have.
• They look for others who share those qualities.
• They find those new people through people they already
know.
Even with over 500 connections on his LinkedIn profile,
Thibault appreciates the benefits of connecting through shared
experiences and social activities at FNZCCI.
“I definitely would recommend others to join, especially the
young generation or newbies in New Zealand.”

NZBUSINESS.CO.NZ

19


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