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Know when to to go ‘offline’ too

Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce
Chris Sargisson, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

Invaluable as it is, and increasingly will be, technology is an enabler. It’s unlikely to replace the need to meet physically, engage and build a lasting business relationship.

The trick is to know when to switch from, as you might say, online to offline.

Let me give you a small, but practical, example. My wife works from home. She has a Fit Bit on her wrist. When it senses that she’s been sitting still for too long, it buzzes. A signal for her to get up and move around. She is using intelligence, gathered by technology, as a catalyst to action.

As businesses we also need that intelligence to remind us when it’s time to move from online to offline. Hold the email, desist with Twitter. Go see! All of this is key to our Chamber strategy. Right now we’re working on technology designed precisely to remind members that it’s time to go outdoors.

As an organisation we use technology to inform members, throughout the region, of all our events. But the key thing is the event. Somewhere that businesses meet, talk, and actually do business.

Think about it in terms of visiting a potential customer. You can prepare by gathering a lot of information, quickly, online. Once you’ve done that the best thing to do is go see that company. Do some business. The technology has enabled you to do that. But the relationship will falter, even if it gets off the ground, if you don’t shift from online to offline when it’s necessary.

You find out about our West Norfolk Business Breakfasts online, by email, on our website. But you have to get out of the office and be there to make it worthwhile, because people do business there. Face to face.


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