Awareness is being present in the moment. This means that all of our senses are connected to the activity before us, and we do not allow ourselves to be distracted by outside thoughts. This take some discipline. It is a learned behavior and must be practiced. If you can’t control yourself, you even hope to control your environment. In order for our chapter grow and succeed, we will need to use our awareness and always remember that not only do we need to focus on the activity presented at the weekly meeting, but also we need to remember, at all times, that we are BNI members and have taken on a duty to refer business to other members.
I feel good when I leave the weekly meeting, and above all, I want to continue to enjoy that feeling and to endeavor that we all experience such a good feeling.
As President, I will not lose sight that we are here to make money. This means referrals are really the lifeblood of our chapter. It is nice to make friends and socialize but making money is just a numbers game. This will take our BNI awareness.
If we want to attract visitors who will become members, we need to be visitor friendly. Although I am proud of our membership, we can do a better job at the numbers and this is what visitors expect. We must all do the basics of one to ones, referrals, visitors, CEU’s and add all that data to the website. It is not sufficient to just attend the meeting.
If we each bring in one member in the oncoming year, we will double in size. This is not a lot to ask, especially when each of us will be the beneficiary of that effort.
Rules are a necessary evil. Without rules we would have anarchy. I make my living searching for and advocating the rules of law. After all, the Constitution is just one big rule. We must be aware that BNI is no different.
I don’t like the term rules so I will use the term common threads as something different. Let us be aware of the following common threads.
David Bunker has been the set up committee for all too long, and we have taken that for granted. We should all share equally in this responsibility. We need two members to be here at 6:30 a.m. to set up the room and to make the coffee. We can all do a month on a rotating basis just like we take turns speaking and bringing breakfast.
The meeting starts at 7:00 a.m. sharp and goes continuously until 8:30 a.m. This is not continually, and there is a difference. There are often interruptions in the flow of the meeting. Many members don’t arrive until 7:10 a.m. or even later. Members who arrive after 7:05 a.m. will be marked as late.
Breakfast should arrive before the members and guests do. Think of the impression that you, as having breakfast, make upon the members, and particularly the visitors, if breakfast is not ready at the start of the meeting.
Attendance is mandatory. Four absences in a six-month period on a rolling basis could result in that seat being opened. You are given three absences and three substitutes. That’s six meetings out of twenty-six that you can miss. That’s 23%. The membership committee will use probationary letters if necessary.
Networking is active. There’s no room for a passive member. If we are all active about initiating a 1 to 1, we will each have two 1 to 1’s per week. This is one hundred sixty per month. We are at less than forty. Let’s work towards eighty to one hundred as the beginning of our BNI awareness.
The purpose of a 1 to 1 is so that referrals can be made. It’s really not just a chit chat session. At least be aware to leave the meeting with a clear idea of how to make referrals to that person
We will get away from the Story moment not because we don’t like the Story moments, but because an awareness needs to be stressed about education and BNI networking in general.
As part of our BNI awareness and discipline, everything is timed. The sixty second commercials and ten minute presentation is really a privilege. Be aware of the clock. Do not go over. When the bell goes off sit down. So that we are all aware of the clock we will share in this responsibility as well on a monthly rotating basis.
The ancient Greeks who established democracy found it necessary to engage in large meetings, and to regulate who was speaking so that all could hear. They used a scepter. Legend has it that the top of the scepter became worn by the many hands that held the scepter over time. If one had the scepter, that one had the privilege to speak and everyone else was to listen. We don’t use a scepter in BNI, but we should respect the privilege of a speaker and listen intently because soon will be our turn to speak, and we want the same respect.
Although done in good faith, passing items around after a sixty second presentation is really a distraction of the group’s attention to the subsequent speakers. However, the use of such a demonstrative device is encouraged. Demonstrative evidence is frequently introduced in court. It is often published to the jury but counsel must request the judge’s permission so that control the proceedings may be had. Use your demonstrative device because it is very thoughtful, forceful and truly representative of your business. Network with it, put it on the marketing table, don’t just pass it around.
Introductions for the 10 minute presenters this should take place from your seat. I have observed that at this time there is much flow of the members many of whom then leave their seats and often the introduction is ignored. This will make for a continuous meeting.
Traffic lights will be distributed at the chapter meetings. It will be a report of the chapter roster and the performance of our chapters’ members will be displayed in color. I know this is tough medicine, but to succeed, we have got to take it. The membership committee needs to know which members are not putting in the numbers, not only for what they contribute to the chapter, but for what they may get from it. Perhaps BNI is not for the nonperforming member and perhaps the nonperforming member is not for BNI.
Speakers should be ready early as that is their time to shine. This should be viewed as a privilege and not an obligation. Those speakers that need the projector should set it up early and confirm their connection before the meeting. All too often technical and connection difficulties are encountered and corrected during the first few minutes of the presentation and precious time is lost. This also distracts from the continuity of the ninety minute meeting.
The North Shore Networkers website is available, but it is not dynamic. This is not attractive to visitors. We should go there frequently and be proud of it, not only for our own use, but to attract visitors. We should all offer a post, particularly the speakers who in preparing for the meeting presentation might as well prepare their material for posting. Please forward it to Leslie DiNanno.
The “I have” portion of the meeting really is the most important part of the meeting, but it has become a rushed moment rather than a moment of reverence. It is to announce to the group your referrals, visitors or a testimonial to a member. There is no need to comment on the presentations. It’s okay to say nothing. We all have those weeks.
BNI says that speakers are to bring a door prize. I prefer to call it as a referral/visitor gift. This too is the speaker’s time to shine by offering the gift to encourage remembrance and thus referrals. It really should be a marketing tool. A gift card from Dunkin donuts is not that memorable, but a marketing device associated with your business is.
Social meetings enhance the “know, like and trust” as the BNI motto goes. We will plan at least three this year.
I would like to see the chapter give something back to the community by way of a scholarship. BNI corporate matches $500 in such a scholarship. The Leadership will discuss how our chapter will fund such a scholarship
In conclusion I hope that we increase our BNI awareness of each other, and remember that we are in a BNI meeting to make more money, and that we are all in this together.
Enjoy the coming year and prosper.