Networking 'apathy' criticised
A national bank training manager has criticised Venture Southland and the Southland Chamber of Commerce for bombarding businesses with information.
ANZ National Bank business training manager Stephen Caunter, who is based in Nelson, said he believed over-exposure of information was discouraging businesses from attending workshops and seminars.
On Tuesday night Mr Caunter held a free networking workshop in Invercargill but only 16 people attended, he said.
The workshop targeted business owners who wanted to increase their business and generate more sales and referrals. It also highlighted the seriousness of networking, he said.
He had hosted workshops and seminars in the city on other occasions, which also had disappointingly small numbers.
He had given the same workshop in Nelson, which 40 people had paid to attend. "I don't know if it's an Invercargill thing but perhaps business are being bombarded by the likes of Venture Southland and the Southland Chamber of Commerce."
Mr Caunter also levelled criticism at business owners and said apathy could be a reason for the lack of interest. Invercargill business owners did not seem to be interested in workshops and saw no value in them. He believed business did not see networking as a useful tool.
"Unwillingness to change is the hardest thing," he said.
The feedback forms on Tuesday night had shown 98 per cent of those that attended found it successful, Mr Caunter said.
"I think people also don't come because of the fear of rejection but in reality the same type of people at the event will not tell you to go away."
There was also the misconception that because an event was free it was no good, he said.
Chamber of Commerce president Dave Rohan said the chamber held workshops about once a month and did not force members to attend.
There was usually a high attendance, so he could only assume that Mr Caunter had not advertised his workshop or it was not a consistent feature for businesses.
"I don't see the chamber bombarding businesses with information, if anything, its workshops were positively assisting business."
Venture Southland enterprise services manager Alistair Adam said monthly newsletters were sent to members about events in the region. "I don't think we are being too proactive, if anything, events are helping the situation."
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