Archive for Education

Mar
20

Innovation can come from within

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As business owners we constantly need to be innovative in our approach to networking, referrals and relationships.  Heraclitus, the Greek Philosopher is credited with being one of the earliest creative thinkers.  Little is known about his early life and education, however he is regarded as self-taught, he was also known as the weeping philosopher.

He often said that delving into our own knowledge and intuition was a perfect way to gain insight.  If you compare this with our modern education system, there is little opportunity for reflection or insight gained from within yourself.  Our schools and universities are based on the “Gulp and Vomit” system.  That is you gulp down a lot of information and vomit it back out onto paper at the exam, in the exact same words if possible!

As a result of this process we come to believe that the best ideas are those provided to us from within someone else’s head, rather than our own unique thoughts and musings.  Heraclitus would like us to remember that there are many good ideas in our own heads, of course if we are willing to delve into the recesses of our brain.

We can with practice, develop our own innovation style.

Here are six ways that you can delve into your inner recesses to access your creativity and innovation skills.

Pay Attention to the Details

Have you ever got up early on a crisp winters morning and noticed the beauty of a spider’s web as it glistens in the early morning sun.  Or what about the precision with which ants leave their nest and return carrying a load of plunder from their day or hours of foraging outside the ant nest.  How do they know where to go to find the food and then how do they remember to get back, often precisely retracing their steps back to the nest.

I used to do this from natural wonder, now I ponder the detail and use this talent to observe detail in problems or challenges I face.

Become Detached

The best way to free up ideas is to let the best ones go.  That’s right, often times we come up with a good idea, which we want to use no matter what.  We literally fall in love with it.  Sometimes the pathway to enlightenment is rocky and we have to let go of love!  Leave that beloved idea to one side and explore other ideas.  Only after we let go, do we sometimes find exactly what we had been searching for all along.

Find Your Blind Spot

Johari Window, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham created a four-quadrant model about relationship awareness.  In one of the quadrants, the Blind Spot, the two descriptors include that which is known to others, but not to ourselves.

Sometimes we are looking at a challenge or problem and we just can’t see a solution.  It’s at times like these that we may need to think of the Johari Window and ask someone else what is it that they can see that we can’t.  Looking at someone else’s challenge with fresh eyes is often enlightening and the blinding obvious stands out so clearly.

The Pressure Cooker Approach

The quickest way to cook vegetables on a kitchen stovetop is to use a pressure cooker.  It gets them cooked in half the time and makes the job easy.  If you are faced with a problem or challenge perhaps applying the pressure cooker theory may work.  That is set a short deadline and work hard and fast toward creating the perfect solution by the looming deadline.

This process works well with a group of people and the challenge to perform is often met.

Handle Rejection

Depending on the creative process being used, your ideas may be rejected by your work colleagues.  Be brave and let your ideas be tested, challenged and even rejected by others.  As part of the creative process, ideas need to be challenged.  Remember the best ideas often come out of a rejected idea.

Harness Your Ego

One of the worst errors we can make when we are searching for creative or innovative ideas is to let our ego interfere.  It’s our idea, so it must be good, it’s our idea, so of course it will work.  It’s our idea, so of course I’ve considered all the alternatives!  I’m sure you can relate to what I’m saying.

Let go of your ego, remain calm and go with the flow, you may be amazed at what happens next!

© Lindsay Adams 2013.  All rights reserved.

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 www.referralinstitute.com.au or email Lindsay directly at Lindsay.adams@referralinstitute.com.au 

Categories : Education, Uncategorized
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Mar
19

Can You Make The Tough Decisions?

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fishingIt’s okay to make a mistake. Successful people make lots of mistakes – that’s why they’re successful. Even BNI members can make mistakes from time to time.

Being able to make a decision quickly and comfortably is one of the keys to great leadership and effective networking. Picture yourself at a business networking function, having a conversation with someone who you consider to be “well connected”. Spontaneously you are invited to attend a social sailing day, with only a limited number of people invited on the boat. If you are a confident decision maker you possibly asked a few key questions

  • time of departure
  • expected return time,
  • would it matter that you weren’t a “yachtie” and really ranked yourself as a beginner.

Based on those key points, you probably accept or decline on the spot.

Or did you hesitate?

If decision making does not come easily to you, you asked a few questions and then had a major or minor stress attack trying to decide whether to go or not. In the end, you may have asked if you could get back to them in 24 hours. Too late, unfortunately, the boat was filled before the function ended.

Another missed opportunity for you. Who knows what may have happened on that boat or who you may have met.

When the need arises to make a quick decision always consider, what is the worst thing that can happen? Once this is identified, then ask yourself, can you cope with that? If you can, then go for it. If not, it may be best to decline.

In the yachting scenario, the worst thing that could have happened may be that you had to reschedule a meeting, so you could attend and possibly make a fool of yourself on the boat. Big deal, you will never become good at networking (or sailing) or management if you are not prepared to make a few mistakes along the way.

Is fear your problem?

At times FEAR is the thing that stops us from making a decision. You may recall times when fear has frozen you in your tracks. Some of the FEARS or False Evidence Appearing Real that regularly occur for some people are:

  • Fear of making a mistake
  • Fear of failing
  • Fear of looking or feeling stupid
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of losing friends
  • Fear of not being liked

These fears are usually totally unfounded.

Maybe you’re a worrier?

Worriers worry about things that may never happen. What a waste of energy! This is not to dismiss these fears, because at the time they are incredibly real. Any of the above fears can actually manifest into headaches, pain, stress or a multitude of physical ailments.

However, if we look at the real reason these symptoms appeared, it is sometimes started by an imagined fear, similar to those listed above. The more we stay in the moment and stop the endless chatter in our heads, the more clarity we have around decision making.

With networking opportunities, not only act like the host rather than the guest, but also think like the host. If you asked people to a special event and they all declined without explaining, how would you feel?

Clear communication is always appreciated, even if at times it means you have to swallow your pride. With the sailing invitation above, what if you were actually brave enough to thank the host for their invitation and explain that you have never been sailing before and may feel you would let the team down. The host would rather your honesty than your silence.

Making the big decisions

With large decision making, a technique I have found to be useful is:

1. State the problem-or situation

What is the obvious problem? Or what are people implying the problem is?

2. State the facts

From a total outsider’s point of view, what are the actual facts?

3. State the real problem

Based on the facts, is it necessary to restate the problem or situation (with the yachting invitation, was it basically the invitee had not been sailing previously and was afraid of making a fool of themselves?)

4. List the options 

Both outrageous and mainstream. An outrageous option would have been that the person takes a crash course in sailing before the appointed date with the key player and pretend they were a seasoned yachtie.

A mainstream option may have been that the invitee made a phone call the next day. Basically just to clarify that they were not a competent sailor and did not want to hold the others back on the day and seek the okay on attending on that basis

5. Pick the best option 

Pick the option with the best outcome, based on the facts you have. It’s okay to make a mistake. Based on the facts you had at that time the decision was made. Time will tell whether it was a right or wrong decision. If you did make a mistake- that’s okay. Things are rarely irreversible – from every mistake you will learn, how not to do it next time.

Often the problem we think we have to fix is not the real problem. A company recently spent a large amount of money replacing an air conditioning unit. It was identified that staff absenteeism was caused by the faulty air conditioner – so it was replaced. The absenteeism continued until the real problem was identified – the new supervisor’s different style of management was alienating the workforce. The supervisor had been promoted from within and had previously got along well with the staff. Digging deeper it was found, that the supervisor was experiencing a serious health problem and did not want to take sick leave because it was a new job and he thought it would not look good to management. There were unlimited options available. However, the one that was chosen had definitely the best outcome.

A meeting for all employees and management was called. The supervisor bravely revealed his health situation and apologised for his unrealistic demands on the staff. Management agreed to the supervisor taking extending paid sick leave and an assurance that the supervisor’s job would be held for him. The staff unanimously agreed on a replacement supervisor (from their ranks) and agreed to give them 100% support. Absenteeism disappeared, productivity increased – everyone was happy.

Author, Sergio Bambaren tells us “Most of us are not prepared to overcome our failures, and because of this we are not able to fulfil our gifts. It is easy to stand for something that does not carry a risk.”

Networking is about risk. An about making mistakes, feeling stupid at times, constantly moving out of your comfort zone and making choices. May your decisions always be wise ones and your networking always lots of fun. BNI members certainly know how to have fun – sometimes they just have to move out of their comfort zone more regularly.

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 www.networkingtowin.com.au

Categories : Education
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If someone refers you a profitable piece of business, should you reward them? And if so, how do you best and appropriately go about it? 

I believe that we don’t always have to automatically give a gift when someone does us a business favour.  But when we do, we need to get it right.

What’s Their Motivation?

How you should respond to a referral, depends on the motivation of the person referring you the business.  If, for example, you are old friends or long-standing business colleagues you may like to help each other out and refer business to each other with no expectations of a reward – other than the deepening of that relationship.

On the other hand, some business owners have specific referral partners for whom they actively seek business. They may have agreed a rewards-system for when business is passed between them.

What’s Your Method?

Many business owners have some methodology for rewarding people who refer them business.  Some pay a sales commission, while others give a gift of some sort.  While yet others do nothing more than say a heartfelt “thank you!”.

What you should do heavily depends on who gives you the referral and what kind of relationship you have with them.

Rewards & Recognition: Gold vs. Platinum 

When you are close business allies you may simply believe in Givers Gain™, i.e. “what goes around comes around”:  If you refer me business, and I refer business to you in return, we both win.

However, not all business works this way and sometimes it is easier for one person to send another a lot of business, while it is harder for the receiver to return the favour.  If this is the case, it may be prudent to have an arrangement where the recipient of the business referral rewards the sender for their generosity.

If this is the case, then I recommend that you apply the Platinum Rule.

We all know The Golden Rule that goes something like this:  “Do unto others, as you would like done to you”.

The Platinum Rule, as created by Dr Tony Alessandra in 1996, takes it one step further, and states:  “Do unto others, as they would like done unto them”.

The Platinum Rule – Works for Them, and Works for You

The difference between The Golden Rule and The Platinum Rule is that when we apply the latter, we are focusing on what the other person likes or wants - rather than what we prefer or like.

Let me explain:

Let’s say that, for example, a business colleague refers a nice piece of business to you worth $10,000.  You want to say thank you plus encourage them to repeat this kind of generous referral over and over again.

How do then you best reward them – and encourage repetition?

One client I introduced to The Platinum Rule came to me after a Golden Rule “thank you” gift gone wrong. He was a real-estate sales professional and known in the marketplace as the guy who wore the “outrageous” ties: bright, quirky, never conservative and always loud.  His signature look was a dark suit with a very bright tie always featuring yellow as the main colour.

When my soon-to-be client landed his nice piece of business from a recent business associate, he wanted to acknowledge the received opportunity and reward his colleague for the referral.  Not only did the real-estate sales expert want to acknowledge the kind referral, but also encourage his referrer to send business his way repeatedly .  So he went straight out and bought a present: an expensive yellow silk tie from his favourite tie retailer.  He had it gift wrapped and proudly presented it to his business colleague.

Some weeks later, he noticed that his colleague had not yet worn the tie. The problem was, of course, that his colleague didn’t like yellow ties.  In fact, he was a very conservative dresser, always impeccably presented, and never seen in a bright tie or any clothing that could possibly be described as “out there”.  He was simply uncomfortable with the gift and would never use it.

If the real estate guy had done some research – or simply stopped to notice the kind of ties his colleague wore – he would have realised that such a gift as his was never going to work.

He had applied The Golden Rule, and bought a gift based on what he liked. Instead, he should have applied The Platinum Rule – and bought something in line with his business colleague’s taste.

How simple would it have been if he had taken that little bit of extra time to think about his colleague’s tastes, personality and preferences first!

Give a Premium Rule Reward & Get Premium Returns

It’s easy to do the right thing for your kind referrer – and therefore strong relationships and your own business’s success. Next time you get a referral, what will you do to show your appreciation?

Hopefully, now you will apply The Platinum Rule and do a little research to find out what your generous referrer likes – rather than rush off to buy something you might prefer instead.

Of course, it also is the thought that counts. But a truly thoughtful gift will be remembered – and your efforts appreciated – long after the reason you gave it.  That “thank you” will carry far more weight and memories than any other will.

Remember: think, care – and only then shop.

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 www.referralinstitute.com.au or email Lindsay directly at Lindsay.adams@referralinstitute.com.au 

Categories : Education
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The old saying that we “treasure what we measure”—and vice versa—turns out to be highly relevant in networking.

I created a survey of 12,000 men and women for one of my most recent books. As my co-authors and I explored the extent to which survey respondents correlated success and networking, we discovered that most of the people who credit networking for some of their success also maintain a system for measuring the dollar value of their networking activity. Conversely, most of the respondents who said networking played no role in their success had no system for tracking any money generated by their participation in networking groups.

In a world where news media frequently reports the latest sports scores, stock market numbers, and even the weekend’s top-grossing films, wouldn’t you think common sense would motivate business networkers to track how much they’re making from their efforts?

Unfortunately, common sense isn’t all that common.

In the survey, more respondents said they did not have a system than said they did have one. More importantly, women said that they did not have a system to follow up more than men did! It is easy to see that the more systematic you learn to make your networking the more productive you are going to be.

Male or female, having a system is key to success. However, for women, this can really be a major key for them. Why is this?

Women have fewer hours to actually spend networking. They have to balance family responsibilities from getting kids off to school in the morning to getting them to their after-school activities, home for dinner, and off to bed. Add to that all the other activities that they need to take care of in a given day and there is little time for networking.

Having systems to follow up and stay in touch allows for more productive activities and results from networking activities. There is no way to create success if your success is out in “airy-fairy” land. Hard facts and data tell you what you are doing well and what you are not doing at all. Tracking is a key factor in success.

Track Everything

There are so many things that need to be tracked:

  • What organizations you belong to and what results you are getting from them?
  • How much time are you spending networking and working your network?
  • How much money have you made as a result of your activities?
  • Who is sending you referrals, and how much of your income are they responsible for?

You must have systems around all the tracking as well as systems for:

  • Following up with those people you meet
  • Staying in touch with your network members
  • Rewarding your referral sources
  • How you are going to help your referral sources

Here is the key point: If you learn to use good systems, it will allow you to get better results in much less time. This will free up more of your time for family and personal life. The work and time is upfront developing and implementing the system. On the backside, you will spend much less time going out networking and more time working in your network.

The advent of online networking has meant a huge shift in how we connect with people.  While it has not overtaken more traditional forms of networking, such as referral groups (like BNI) and casual contact networking (as Dr Ivan Misner discovered while conducting research for his new book, “Business Networking And Sex”), online networking is certainly great for building relationships.

In light of this, we have put together five top tips to help you get the most out of your online networking.

Remember VCP

In order to be successful in any networking environment you need to remember the basic principles of visibility, credibility, and profitability (VCP).

We do business with people we know, like and trust.  Think of online networking platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn as ways to build these relationships, which, just like in the ‘real’ world, you must do before trying to make a sale.  Imagine you were at a networking event and a stranger gave you their business card and said “Buy from me!”  It would make you not want to buy from them.  The same is true online; don’t send someone a message promoting yourself before you have built a relationship with them.

Complete Your Online Profiles

Your online profiles are great credibility builders … provided you take the time to complete them.  Most people will read them before deciding whether to connect with you.

Some of the elements you should include in your profile are your:

  • Location – people may want to meet you.
  • Work history – including company names, positions, and job descriptions.
  • Hobbies and interests – to create the ‘I’m like you’ factor.

Think Before You Post

Remember VCP.  Before you post photos of drunken nights, think about how they might affect your business relationships.  Keep these things for your personal profiles and check your privacy settings.  Remember, the internet is permanent: once you put something out there, it is there for good.

Get Active and Contribute

When you go to a networking function in the ‘real’ world do you sit alone in the corner?  Of course not.  So when you are online, make sure you join groups and be part of the conversation.  You get the greatest value from online networking when you contribute.  Just as Givers Gain® works offline, givers do gain online, too.

Connect Online and Offline

If distance allows, you might like to meet up with people you have met online.  Similarly, when you meet someone new in person, stay in contact online as well.  Both keep the connection going, which is just what networking is all about.

Try some of these tips – and let us know how you go at social.media@bni.com.au

Natalie Alaimo is the National Social Media Director for BNI Australia.  She also runs social media training business, Natalie Alaimo International, teaching entrepreneurs how to leverage the power of social media to generate an avalanche of clients.  Visit her online to download a FREE copy of “The 9 Essential Tips to Social Media Success”.

Categories : Education, Networking
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Have you ever been to a networking event where the goal of everyone around you seems to be to collect as many business cards as quickly as possible?  Wouldn’t it be better to connect with people rather than just collect their contact details?

Yes!  In October, we started our new series on networking, following the huge number of requests to cover this topic.  This month we’re looking at working the room.

But what does ‘working the room’ actually mean?  Here are a few points to keep in mind for doing just that.

Working The Room

As small business owners and members of BNI, we know that referrals drive business.  In fact, for small business owners like us there is no greater endorsement than a personal referral.  And what is the best way to help people make personal referrals to you?  Meet them!

So working the room is simply meeting people and connecting with them.

Look For An Opening

But there are often more people than we can actually meet at networking events.  How do we know who is open to meeting us?

Have a look at the picture below.  Which people would you walk up to?

Open Groups

Some of the people in the picture are standing in open groups, often called ‘Open Vs’ because of their shape.  Just like the letter itself, V-shaped groups allow people to talk while leaving an opening for others to join in.  And as we know, the more people who join the group, the more opportunities we have to connect with them.

Sorry We’re Closed

Some of the people in the picture are standing in closed groups.  They have their backs facing outwards and there is no space for people to join.  Closed groups repel others, which means no opportunities for connecting.

Are You Lost?  Can I Help?

There are a few ‘lost’ people in the picture, standing alone.  When you see a ‘lost’ person, remember the fundamental BNI maxim: Givers Gain®!  The person may be feeling nervous or alone.  Give them your time and attention.  Join them and start a conversation: you never know where it might lead.

Connecting With The Connectors

Standing in open groups and approaching people who look lost, are two good ways to become better networkers.  Another strategy is to connect with the connectors.

What does this mean?  Connectors are people who know hundreds (even thousands) of people.  They are the ones people mention first, and whose names come up time and time again.  Connectors are people who have built huge networks, through meeting and helping people.  They can provide you with a link to a great range of people, ideas, and information.

Keep an ear out for people saying, “You know who could help?  So-and-so, they know everyone!”

But don’t stop at meeting connectors, become a connector.  The easiest way to do this is to help people, to recommend an IT specialist to someone who needs help with their computer, or a great architect to someone renovating their house.  Over time, people will come to you for suggestions, which means you will also be front-of-mind when they need the services you provide.

So, when you are heading to your next chapter meeting or business-networking event, make sure you arrive early and leave late so you have time to work the room.

We all need holidays.  What we don’t need is the hassle of trying to figure out the planes, trains and automobiles to get us there!

Luckily there are travel agents who can do these things for us so our holidays really are holidays.  The benefits of having a travel agent in our BNI chapter extend beyond our own travel needs.  It can really help our businesses too.

So let’s look at why every chapter needs a travel agent, and why every travel agent needs a chapter.

Travel Agents, We Want You! 

So why does every chapter need a travel agent?  Because:

  • Travel agents meet loads of people every day.  There is a high chance they will meet someone who needs what you are offering – and can recommend you.
  • Travel agents know many people – not just in your city, but across Australia, and around the world too.  They have incredible networks which can directly benefit your business.
  • Givers Gain®:  When you refer your friends and colleagues to a good travel agent, they will remember you for making such a good recommendation.
  • Travel agents can assist with your own travel arrangements, whether for business or pleasure.

Every Travel Agent Needs a Chapter 

So every chapter needs a travel agent: fact.  But why does every travel agent need a chapter?

The mutually beneficial relationship between BNI Australia and Travel Counsellors, a travel agency franchise, is a perfect example why every travel agent needs a chapter.

Travel Counsellors has over 1,100 travel agents across six countries.  It has some of the best travel agents in the world, many of whom are also members of their local BNI chapters.

We asked some of these Travel Counsellors why they joined BNI.  Here are their top four reasons:

  1. Because being part of BNI means you have a sales team promoting your business for you.

    “BNI has been one of the principal reasons my business is so successful today.  When I first joined BNI, I discovered a sales team who were as excited about building my business as much as their own.”
    Suzanne McGregor, Travel Counsellors,
    BNI Central, Brisbane QLD.

  2. Because only one travel agent can be a member in each chapter so competition is locked out.
  3. Because being a member of BNI can mean a great increase in referrals.

    “In such a short time BNI has led to over 40% of all my business referrals.”
    Jamie Cooper, Travel Counsellors,
    BNI Accelerate, Ipswich, Brisbane QLD.

  4. Because with increased referrals comes the opportunity for greatly increased income.

    “BNI has truly worked for me and my business.  I have received over $300,000 worth of business in referrals.”
    Ian Silk, Travel Counsellors,
    BNI Advantage, Glen Waverley, VIC.

So as you can see, travel agents and BNI work very well together.

If your chapter has a vacancy in the travel sector, start thinking as a group about how you can find a great travel agent.

Have you ever walked into a party where you didn’t know anyone and found yourself greeted with a friendly smile and some helpful introductions?  Then you have met someone who would make a great BNI Visitor Host!

Visitor Hosts are a fundamental part of your Leadership Team and vitally important to the growth of your chapter.  This month we take a closer look at who they are and what they do.

BNI Visitor Hosting: It’s a Team Effort

As your BNI chapter can expect to welcome more than one visitor each week, your team of Visitor Hosts needs to be large enough to properly look after each guest.  The expected number of visitors depends on the size of your chapter, of course, and how active members are in bringing guests to your weekly meetings.

Your chapter’s Visitor Hosts also need to organize the team to look after different aspects of Visitor Hosting: greeting, orientation, and follow up.

The larger the chapter, the more Visitor Hosts you need to appoint.  Both – ensuring individual attention is given to each visitor, and distributing the workload – mean that chapters should have at least three Visitor Hosts to share the tasks, and to be able to concentrate on high quality hosting.

Because it’s professional, it’s polite – and because happy visitors are great referrers!

Meeting And Greeting

Your chapter’s Visitor Hosts are the first people a guest (and potential new member) meets when they visit your chapter.

They greet new arrivals and help them feel welcome.  Visitor Hosts make sure guests have a cup of tea or coffee, and explain how the meeting will run.  And because Visitor Hosts are expert networkers, they introduce guests to key people to get the networking ball rolling.

Making Introductions: Everybody Wins

A good Visitor Host finds out which businesses a guest is looking to connect with – but they also establish which members might benefit from meeting the guest.  Then the Visitor Host brings them together, introducing guest and relevant members.

Even with only little information available, clued-in Visitor Hosts know to introduce a visitor to representatives of the power team the guest’s business would most likely complement.

Either way, introductions made by the Visitor Hosts enable members and guests to network before the actual meeting begins.  Everyone will get the most out of pre-meeting networking – visitor, member, and your chapter.

Visitor Hosts ensure the President has the visitors’ details so they can be individually introduced to the chapter.

Perhaps most importantly for these potential new members, Visitor Hosts explain the Sales Manager Minute (a.k.a. 60 Seconds Infomercial), and the opportunity each guest has to share their business and ideal referral request with the group.

After The Meeting: Orientation & Follow Up

Visitor Hosts not only play a fundamental role in greeting visitors at the start of each chapter meeting, they also help visitors after meetings, both immediately and in the days following.

At the end of each meeting, Visitor Hosts join up with guests for a brief Visitor Orientation.  This orientation is the perfect opportunity for guests to ask questions and for Visitor Hosts to talk them through the application process.

During the orientation, Visitors Hosts should:

  • Thank the visitors for coming
  • Explain the commitments of membership
  • Handout the BNI Visitor Packs
  • Explain the application process and help visitors complete the application form
  • Collect application forms
  • Ask visitors to fill out the confidential meeting evaluation form

And because Visitor Hosts are such welcoming people, they phone new visitors a day or two after the meeting to check if they have any questions or need help with the application form.

So The Best Visitor Hosts Are…

A whole range of people!  From members who love to greet new people to those who can’t stop themselves talking about how BNI has boosted their business.

While it is important for the group of Visitor Hosts serving on the Leadership Team at any one time to have different talents, they do all share one important understanding: that by growing their chapter they are growing their own business. One inevitably flows from the other.

So Are You Ready To Be A Host With The Most?

Like the sound of being one of the welcoming faces of your chapter and increasing to your visibility and creditability?  Great!  Talk to your Leadership Team about becoming a Visitor Host.

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This month we continue our popular series on the Leadership Roles within BNI with the “Voice of the Leadership Team”: the Education Co-Ordinator.

Challenges, Opportunities & Benefits

As a key member of the Leadership Team, the Education Co-Ordinator gives you a weekly insight into the direction your “leaders” are taking your chapter: the challenges they feel are right to tackle, and the opportunities they see for all members. Though this role is also meant as a resource for you: someone always ready to answer any questions you may have about your BNI experience.

Helping You Get More Out of BNI

The main purpose of the information shared in the education segment each week is to help all members reach the level of success they expect from their BNI membership. It’s all about helping you get more value out of BNI!

That’s why the Education Co-Ordinator’s presentations will always be BNI-focused. After all, you and your fellow BNI members specifically joined a BNI Chapter because you trust the proven BNI system to generate more quality referrals for your business. These weekly presentations are an important tool to help the Chapter and each member reach that goal. Because knowledge is power, and in BNI we believe that learning more is the key to earning more.

Being the Education Co-Ordinator: What To Do

The Education Co-Ordinator speaks for 3-5 minutes at the beginning of each meeting, right after the BNI Purpose & Overview section. The information presented is always geared towards helping the members enhance their networking skills and knowledge of the BNI system, in order to better give and receive referrals.

The Education Co-Ordinator –

  • Picks and researches the topic based on what the Chapter needs
  • Works with the Leadership Team on topic selection (especially with the Membership Committee and the Vice President)
  • As Education “Co-Ordinator” selects, on occasion, other members to present the education piece
  • Presents BNI-related networking education only
  • Uses a wide range of resources, including:
  1. BNI Facebook pages & blogs
  2. BNI International and BNI Learning websites
  3. BNI Books
  4. Members Area of the BNI Australia website

The better the Education Co-Ordinator is at tailoring their information to the Chapter’s needs, the more practical, applicable information the members will receive. Better-educated members utilising the BNI system will create more business for themselves, and their Chapter.

Use The Opportunity

What questions about BNI (and great ideas for your chapter) do you have?

Ask your Education Co-Ordinator to clarify anything that might be unclear to you about the BNI system. There are no silly questions – just those important, but un-asked ones! Your chapter will benefit from a Leadership Team that has the finger on its members’ collective pulse. You can help make your group more successful and engaged by contributing with your questions and suggestions. However, be sure to do this during open networking, or outside the weekly agenda – so the BNI meeting does not overrun.

And you can even present a topic!

Speak to your Education Co-Ordinator about delivering the Education Segment one week. Especially to passionately talk about a BNI subject close to your heart. You can be sure that your visibility and credibility will receive a boost that results in more referrals and business opportunities for you.

And perhaps the next time around, you might even want to put up your hand for the Education Co-Ordinator role!

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At the broadest level, BNI networking is all about making connections. It’s about meeting other members to talk and to listen. To find out how we can support their businesses, and to share with them how they can support ours.

Making Connections

When we focus in on these connections, what we see at their core is a continuous series of questions and answers – usually quite naturally followed by more questions and more replies: “What kind of referrals are you looking for?”; “My perfect referral is…”. “How can I help find those referrals?”; “I would love your help with…”.

Introducing Your “Question Corner”!

These kinds of questions and answers are not only central to our face-to-face meetings across our BNI Chapters, but also to our connections in the online environment.

It is with this in mind, that we are delighted to announce the launch of the members’ “Question Corner” on the BNI Blog, the BNI Australia Facebook page, and in our monthly newsletter!

Your Wish, Our Command

The new Question Corner is just one of the results (we have more up our sleeve) of the survey we recently asked you to take part in. A staggering 40.7% of our members said they would like to have a space to post questions and receive informative feedback.

We know that when we connect and learn from each other, we are sharing the business and networking knowledge of several thousand BNI members from all across Australia – and that’s pretty powerful stuff.

All Kinds of Questions

So, what kind of questions might you see answered in the Members’ Question Corner?

Well, anything! It’s entirely up to you.

You might like to find out more about getting the best out of your BNI membership, or you may be looking for new networking tips, or you could have questions about the individual roles in the Leadership Team: whatever your question, we want to hear it.

Asking Your Questions

And how do you pose questions to your Question Corner?

It’s easy. Just email them to us at email and we will start putting together the answers for you – and all other readers. Remember to check our Facebook page and the BNI Blog regularly to catch up on the latest Question Corner postings. And, of course, we will be highlighting some questions and answers in the newsletter every month.

We know that by asking questions we make connections, and by making connections we build our businesses – and that’s what BNI is all about.

Categories : Education
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