1. Understanding the challenges of networking in Quebec



A presentation of MONTREAL 5A7’s networking dossier is available as an introduction.


Understanding the importance of networking in Quebec is to start in advance with the right basics. We must imagine our network as an irrigation system that will allow us to cultivate our cranberry farm. And we have to imagine ourselves as a stream that contributes in its turn to support the fields of others.

There exists a multitude of solutions and tools to network but it is with the spotlight on these two fundamental ideas that we would like to approach the subject :


To be recognized vs. being known


To be recognized for our skills, our qualities, our experience : this is an undeniable asset before embarking on a new step professionally. This is that we generally put forward: the objectives that we had to attain and the means that we put into place in order realize them.

However, in a world of competition but also a certain uniformization of qualified skills, the right diploma and know-how don’t always suffice.

This holds even truer in Quebec, where companies do not content themselves with adding a competent person: they are, above all, attached to men and women who will need to work in harmony with their collaborators and share their values, interests, and passions.


Placing the Person at the heart of their project


To be known personally, from one to another. The difference could well play out on this terrain.

We speak of our neighbor next-door, at the adjoining table at the restaurant, at the counter of our favorite cafe. We speak of volunteers and patrons that we meet within an association. We speak of the famous information meetings solicited by people with whom we share a path, tastes, ambitions.

And we speak, naturally, of encounters made during events organized for this purpose.


We often say to a new arrival in Quebec that no one is waiting for them. That they will have to start over at zero and prove themselves. The famous first experience in Canada that, whatever it is, will be perceived as beginning to prove our integration by our actions. But the new arrival will always be surprised by the welcome reserved for them in Quebec : no one is closed to a new encounter, to a sharing of advice, and to the introduction to other contacts. It is simply incumbent upon us to make the first step.


It is not by chance if that which we name (with a certain mischief) 5-à-7s (or happy hour) and other business networking events have so much success in Montreal, Quebec, or elsewhere. As underlined by Olivier Ouillé, we rarely recommend a business : we recommend people. H2H instead of and in place of the old concepts of B2B, of B2C – and finally of all other relations, of business or private life. This is a trend signifying a return to simplicity, one might say of the conviviality of the person. In opposition to the avatar or the pseudonym?

In the end, whether we come from Belgium or Saskatchewan, the first thing we retain about a person, is the person themselves : who we are, in opposition to what we are or what we do. All the little things that a resumé or our Linkedin profile are incapable of transmitting.

Yet, this is the interest of direct networking between people. Of getting closer, of affect, of emotions, of personal history and the sharing of it, as instantaneous as it is spontaneous, in an extra professional setting which de facto puts everyone on an equal footing.

In the same vein, we understand the success of certain team consolidation efforts that don’t hesitate to play with a redistribution of cards and to put their collaborators in a situation of interdependence, outside of their habitual bearings and relations. That doesn’t hesitate to shake them up1.


Getting out of our comfort zone, precisely. An expression often used to describe this movement, this step we take toward others. An expression to take in its most literal sense.

Getting out of our comfort zone, is to start by simply getting out.



  1. See for instance the challenge programs offered by the Montreal-based company Esprit de Corps

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