Archive for February, 2013

Sonya-1-Orange-jacket-427x640Columnist Details
Sonya Blondinau
Director, Consultant, Author
Walk like a Rock Star
BNI Breakfast by the Beach in the BNI Melbourne Region

Tell us about your business:

Walk like a rock star is a business consulting and coaching firm. We show business owners and executives how to find more time, more money and more success in their business or careers.

Sonya spent 21 years as an executive in financial services and has walked in our clients shoes. She has built businesses from start-up, expanded businesses and turned the non-performing into the performing. Sonya recently worked with the CEO of private equity firm and turned it from a bank account with $50,000 in it to a company with $103M in funds under management in 12 months.

We combine Sonya’s business and company director experience with her qualifications in business economics and finance to provide services such as strategy and planning sessions, one on one coaching, workshops and analysis.

Why do we do this?  To get our clients singing and walking like rock stars.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

1. Give without expectation
2. Nurture your database, create and maintain and keep in contact
3. Become a key person of influence in your niche

What can’t you live without?

My Cats – Tyson and Daisy and the collingwood football team

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

My book – Releasing the Rock Star Within – Obviously. Because you cannot be 100% successful in your business unless you have sorted out your personal life.

Secondly – Dan Priestley’s – Become a Key Person of Influence. It is easy to ready and simple to implement with immediate results.

How Did Your Find Out About BNI & Why Did You Join?

Through a work colleague.

I joined because I was relatively new to Melbourne and I wanted to spend time with like-minded people and form a network of trusted people I could call on to support my business.

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

7 Months

What Position/s On The Leadership Team Have You Held? 


What value & benefit have you or your business gained by being a BNI Member?

BNI has provided me with a network of business partners, friends and colleagues. Without BNI I would have been pfaffing around trying to find editors, printers, booker keepers and even an osteopath. BNI also keeps you focused on business development and it makes you the go to person in your own personal network because people know that you will be able to refer a broker, lawyers, etc.

What Do You Wish Someone Had Told Your When You First Joined BNI? 

Visit other Chapters

You can refer between chapters

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

My BNI story is my book. Without BNI there would be no book. My book Releasing the Rock Star Within was written as part of the KPI Course I was doing which I found out about through BNI. The book is written by a BNI’er – me, cover is designed by a BNI’er (Liquid Concepts) it is edited by a BNI’er (Cavaletti Communications), printed by a BNI printer (Excite Print) and the layout editor is from a BNI referral. Pretty cool I think.

Your Dream Referral Is…

Mark Bouros – I would love to be his trusted advisor and be able to work with his teams and management

Categories : BNI Guest Columnist
Comments (0)

rockstarThere is something to be said for being part of a network.  You should always surround yourself with diversity, with people who have differing talents and differing opinions. Add value to these people. Surround yourself with people who will be open and honest with you, so that you, and they, learn and grow. Look at the group of people you surround yourself with, how do you add value to this group?

This is what BNI is all about, surrounding yourself with a group of people who come together for the benefit of the group. 

Over the past few months this has become very real for me as the size of the group has gone beyond that of my own chapter. The power of the BNI network is bigger than your own chapter or the person you sit next to each week at your meeting.

Before I give you an example of the power of this amazing network, I should also point out that the network isn’t only about money and referrals for your business. It is about the adding value to everyone in the network and the law of reciprocity. Hence, the BNI Mantra is that, “Givers Gain.” In this example I haven’t received any referrals or business, but the gain for me is far more than financial.

In August of 2012 I joined a business incubator program called, “Become a Key Person of Influence”.  This program is supported by BNI, hence this is how I heard about it. One of the steps in the program and towards becoming a “Key Person of Influence” is to write a book showcasing your expertise. So I wrote a book – “Releasing the Rock Star Within”.

On Friday 18th of January 2013, I received the first printed copies of my book. Big deal I hear you all thinking – “what does this have to do with networking and BNI, other than the fact that you heard about the course through BNI?”

Well, without BNI there would be no book and every part of my book has been touched by BNI.

  • The writer is me, a BNI member,
  • The editor is from Cavalletti Communications a BNI member,
  • The printer is Excite Print, another BNI member,
  • The cover design was done by Liquid Concepts, a BNI member
  • The layout was done by a referral from a BNI member
  • And every one of these BNI members is from a different Chapter – some from Sydney, one from Kingscliff and others in Melbourne.

In August 2012, I had never dreamed of writing a book, nor would I have had any idea how I would get it published, in print and on Amazon but thanks to the power of my network and your network, our BNI network, the people we surround ourselves with every week, who we support and who supports us I have written, published and printed a book.

Now I may not sell a copy or I may end up with a bestseller but that is not the point. The point is that there is no better feeling than opening up a box from your BNI printer and seeing your BNI Graphic Designers cover on the front of your own book.

This is the true power of your network and this is how BNI Released the Rock Star Within.

Sonya-1-Orange-jacket-427x640Article written by the Sonya Blondinau Director of Walk Like a Rock Star

Sonya Blondinau Director of Walk Like a Rock Star.  Walk Like a Rock Star is a business consulting and coaching firm. We show business owners and executives how to find more time, more money and more success in their business or careers.  Find out more at

Categories : Networking Systems
Comments (0)

Why I am a BNI ambassador?

Posted by: | Comments (1)

masters_of_networkingOver the last 15+ years I have met thousands of BNI members and spoken at many BNI events in Australia and New Zealand. One of my favourite BNI stories is how I first came to meet Ivan Misner and the wonderful opportunities that eventuated from that first meeting.

Picture this, it was the late 90’s and I had firmly established myself as a Global Networking Specialist, had many networking books under my name and my name was becoming synonymous with networking in Australia.

Ian Pendlebury had brought BNI to Australia and I had established a friendship with Ian as he showed up at many business networking events as he grew the Sydney BNI chapters. I had been to one BNI meeting to check out how it worked, gave it my tick of networking approval and referred many people to their local chapters. I chose not to join as I was travelling extensively and could not commit to one meeting per week. However, I was a real BNI fan.

One day I had a phone call from Ian. He hesitantly asked me if I was interested in helping to launch Ivan Misner’s new book. It was Ivan’s first trip to Australia and Ian was keen to get lots of coverage for the event and thought I might help draw a crowd. I had heard and read so much about Ivan and jumped at the chance to be involved. Ivan went to great pains to point out that Ivan would be “the main event” and my involvement was second place. “That’s fine Ian; I get to meet Ivan Misner – that’s fantastic.”

“Wow, I’ve just won $20.” Ian said.

“How come?” I responded.

“Well, when I told Jack, a guy in my chapter that I was going to ask you to be involved in the launch, he bet me $20 that you would say no!”

“Ian you are crazy, she will never agree to that – Ivan is her competitor, why would she do that?” Jack said.

“It’s obvious you have never met Robyn, she doesn’t worry about competitors, she believes in abundance and there being plenty for everyone.” Ian said.

“I’ll bet you $20 she says NO!” Of course Jack was wrong.

Fast track to the day of the launch and Ian had arranged for Ivan, he and I to have a lovely lunch at a beachside Sydney hotel. Over lunch Ivan asked me if I would be interested in contributing to his next book – “Masters of Networking”. Another wonderful opportunity and I accepted the offer immediately.

That night we had a great launch in the city, Ivan’s book sold well and BNI recruited many new and potential members for their Sydney chapters. A week later I submitted my words for the “Masters of Networking” book – knowing very little about the other co-authors.

Imagine my surprise a few months later, when I received my first copy of “Masters of Networking” with my name listed on the cover along with Harvey Mackay, Deepak Chopra and Bill Gates. As many of you would know the book went on to be a New York Times best seller and I bought the rights to publish the book in Australia and was very proud of my involvement.

Since then Ivan’s path and mine have crossed many time including California and throughout Australia – most recently at Ivan’s Australian book launch in 2012 on the Sunshine Coast.

So why am I a BNI ambassador?

I love systems that work. BNI is all about systems, procedures and protocols. And as big as BNI has grown and continues to grow – the systems work. Week after week, referrals fly around chapter meetings all around the world. Pro-active BNI members who “get” BNI grow their businesses quickly and professionally.

Some members last, some don’t – that’s life. Some want to change everything (usually these ones don’t last), others take the time to look at the systems and realise – they work because they are sound systems.

The pro-active members prosper. This is no one niche that will necessarily do better than another. What I know for sure, the BNI members who get it realise that they are only one introduction or connection away from new business.

Had I said “Thanks but no thanks Ian” back in the late ‘90s when I was asked to support Ivan at his book launch, many doors would not have opened for me as they have in the last decade. May I recommend that one of the most important things you need to take to your next BNI chapter meeting is an open mind?

Remember every best friend was once a perfect stranger.

Article written by the “Australian Queen of Networking” Robyn Henderson

Global networking specialist, Robyn Henderson has authored and contributed to more than 30 books on networking, self promotion and self esteem building. She has spoken in 12 countries, presents over 150 times per year and has never advertised. All her work comes from networking, referrals, LinkedIn and her website

Categories : BNI Fundamentals
Comments (1)


Why is it that you meet some people at a networking function and seem to get along like you are old friends?

Why is it that you meet some other people who you can’t seem to find anything in common with and struggle to make conversation?

Research by the Referral Institute has shown that people tend to get along with people who are just like them.  If this is the case surely if we could identify people just like us, we would find it easier to do business with them.  If this is true, then another problem arises.  What do we do about the people we want to do business with who aren’t like us?

The good news is, that it is possible to do business with anyone, provided we make allowances for their particular behavioural style.  Not only that if we adapt our style to be a little more like those people who are different to us, we have a far greater chance of doing business with them.

As human beings we all have different behavioural styles and how we handle ourselves at networking functions depends on one of four different styles.

The four styles are:

  • Go Getter
  • Promoter
  • Nurturer
  • Examiner

Lets look at each in detail to understand how to get along better with people just like us, or people who are nothing like us.

Go Getters

Go Getters are hustling, enterprising people who make things happen.  They go to a networking function with a clear purpose or goal.  Go Getters are often described as achievers, self-starters, doers, high fliers, or live wires.  They tend to be on the move, making quick decisions about the people they are talking to, typically act confidently and successfully, and approach a networking function as a chance to gain business!


Promoters are typically an active supporter, someone who urges the adoption of, or attempts to sell or popularise someone or something.   They are often referred to as being an advocate, supporter or influencer.  Promoters tend to use their voice and influence others with what they have to say.  They can be very smiley and positive people, and approach a networking function as a more social event – a way to catch up with friends and meet new people. However, business is not necessarily the key reason for attending!


Nurturers are people who give tender care and protection to a person or thing especially to help it grow or develop.  They like to encourage, and foster the growth of relationships.  Nurturers tend to want to make other people feel comfortable.  They are concerned with other people’s feelings, are very approachable, and do not feel like they have to be the center of attention. They are interested in seeing people that they have relationships with and deepening that relationship, along with meeting a few new people who are down to earth, nice, and not too aggressive.


Examiners like to inspect or analyse a person, place or thing in detail, to test the knowledge or skills by asking questions.  They can be described as an auditor, inspector, surveyor or assessor.  Examiners tend to be more reserved and systems oriented.  They are typically not extremely social people and would rather be working versus socialising with a large group of people they may not know. Their whole goal for a networking function is to complete the task of attending, meet 1-3 new people who may have been pre-selected, conduct any other tasks necessary, and then leave normally before the event is over so they may get back to work.

Identifying The Four Networking Styles

Now that you understand the four basic styles you can adapt your behaviour to relate to those who are different to you.  Of course if you want more information, your local Referral Institute trainer will be happy to help.

Article written by the Lindsay Adams National Director of the Referral Institue

Lindsay Adams National Director, Referral Institute The Referral Institute is a training and consulting company that specializes in working with business owners and sales people to help them develop referral their marketing vision, plans and goals, before they go to BNI to take action.  Find out more at or email Lindsay directly at 

Categories : Networking
Comments (0)

Sonya-1-Orange-jacket-427x640Members Details
Sonya Blondinau
Author, Speaker Coach
Walk like a Rock Sta
BNI City Central in the BNI Melbourne Central Region

Tell us about your business:

Walk like a Rock Star is a personal and professional development company that works with business professionals to help them grow in the personal and the professional life and in their business.

I was an executive in the financial services industry for 21 and have established business including a multi-million dollar funds management business from scratch. This gives me a unique advantage in that I am a qualified and experienced in business, executive leadership, professional and personal development.

What are your top 3 networking tips?

1. Give give give give give
2. Turn up
3. You get what you pitch for so perfect your picth

What can’t you live without?

My cats and the Collingwood footbal club

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

Releasing the Rock Star Within by Sonya Blondinau.

I believe that to be successful in business and be a leader you need to be personally successful which means knowing what you value most in life and living your life in tune with those values. Also taking time out to really think about who you are and who you want to be. This book walks you through all of this.

Also this book although authored by me was edited by a BNI’er, printed by a BNI’er and the cover was designed by a BNI’er. It is the perfect example of how BNI works.

How Did Your Find Out About BNI & Why Did You Join?

Through my network. I joined so I could gain a network of people I could trust and rely on

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

8 months

What Position/s On The Leadership Team Have You Held?


What value & benefit have you or your business gained by being a BNI Member?

I have gained a fabulous network of suppliers to my business and have become the go to person in my network outside of BNI because I can always find someone to solve someone else dilemma

What Do You Wish Someone Had Told Your When You First Joined BNI? 

How effective second, third and fourth level referrals are.

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

My book is my BNI Story. Everyone associated with this book is in BNI or associated with BNI. From Vivienne Kane, Minuteman Press Prahran – the printer, Alex Dukcevic, Liquid Concepts -The Designer, Cavalatti Communications – The Editor, my osteopath, Cameron Keally and The Key Person of Influence Team who are BNI partners. Without all of them, there would be no book

Your Dream Referral Is…

Mark Bouris of Yellow Brick Road. I would love to work with him to develop his team and coach each of his franchisee’s

Categories : Featured Member
Comments (0)

tiffaMembers Details
Tiffanee Cook
Business Development Manager
Intelligent Media
BNI Business Alliance in the BNI South Yarra Region

Tell us about your business:

Intelligent Media is a digital print agency who have paved our own new road in the industry… We’re designers, developers, printers, box makers, strategists. We are the jack of all trades – but we master them all. From creative to digital print, direct mail to dynamic online content, we’re multi-channel experts that can drive your dollar further.

Whether it be business cards, brochures, banners, direct mail or a personalised campaign across multiple mediums we’re to go to people in print!!

What are your top 3 networking tips?

Take your time and get to know people well – one person at a time. Networking is relationships and the business you’ll gain is a by-product of this, so do it well and be genuine.

Be specific in what defines a good referral for you. Name names, use examples… be too broad and you’ll fail to trigger people’s memories of who they are actually connected to.

Be effervescent!! (but not cheesy) Be the one who is known to ooze energy and positivity, people will want to network and build relationships with you and the good energy rubs off.

What can’t you live without?

Chocolate, we have a real love hate relationship.. but I know it’ll always be there when I need it, talk about loyalty!!

Boxing Gloves, did my first Executive Fight Club challenge last October and blessed with a win I’ve been bitten by the boxing bug… that’s right, you don’t want to upset me, hehe!

Which Business Book Would Your Recommend & Why?

How To Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie.

It’s one of the MANY great books I’ve read but this one was my first, I feel it opened my mind to considering other peoples perspectives and understanding why we react the way we do. It’s been a while, I think I’ll climb up the bookshelf and drag it out again…

How Did Your Find Out About BNI & Why Did You Join?

I was fortunate enough to have taken over my Directors membership. I stood in for him a few times when our two companies merged and managed to stand my ground keep it in my hands.

How Long Have You Been a Member For?

13 months

What Position/s On The Leadership Team Have You Held?

Vice President, Membership Committee

What value & benefit have you or your business gained by being a BNI Member?

The biggest and most rewarding benefit for me was to tackle my public speaking issues… I’ve chosen not to complete many courses upon getting to a stage where a presentation is required!

When I first started attending BNI the 60 second infomercial was enough to keep me awake the night before and have me shaking my way through my breakfast afterwards. I won’t say I don’t still tremble a little but I LOVE giving presentations now, it’s more of an enthusiasm tremor now!! haha

What Do You Wish Someone Had Told Your When You First Joined BNI? 

To follow up and develop relationships with visitors. I’ve gained a lot of business from one off visitors over the past 6 months.

Do You Have a BNI Story to share?

We have developed a strong ’power team’ within our group. This consists of Graphic Designer, Photographer, Printer, Marketing Consultant, SEO, Copywriter and Business Coach.

Together we have presented to our group to educate how we can work together, this has helped iron out any confusion as to who or how they may refer people to us.

I have also made genuine, long term friends from our chapter!!

Your Dream Referral Is…

My Dream Referral Is…

A medium to large property developer. They require top quality print
They require specific, targeted marketing
They require unique, attention-grabbing direct mail pieces

We cater for this as a one stop shop which is very unique to us!

Categories : Featured Member
Comments (0)