Archive for Networking Systems

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
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Do you allocate networking time every day or a set time every week to complete your networking strategies? If you don’t you might find you are not getting the results you want. Smart networkers have systems in place to assist them with their time management and their networking results. Let’s look at 3 simple systems guaranteed to maximize your allocated networking time.

Systems + Time = Networking Results

Let’s aim to allocate a minimum of 15 minutes per day as your networking time. This does not include the time spent at your BNI chapter meeting. These 15 minutes are a specific time frame set aside for networking activity.

Can’t spare 15 minutes per day? Don’t worry – this does not have to be a solid 15 minute block. There may be many opportunities for stolen minutes, for example:

  • When you are waiting for a teleconference call to start and you use that time to network, by chatting with those people online.
  • You might write a quick thank you card (yes a hand written note rather than an email) to thank someone for a favour they have done for you. Addressing the envelope often takes longer than actually writing the card – but the impact on the receiver is WOW – 10/10 for effort.
  • A welcome back to work email to someone who has been on sick leave or holiday leave.
  • A welcome email to a new member of your BNI chapter – “Welcome to XYZ chapter, I am the guy in the green shirt this morning who talked to you about challenges with employee’s absenteeism.”

Are you getting the idea? No one actually has 15 minutes to spare, but they do have lots of stolen minutes throughout their day and every stolen minute eventually totals 15+ minutes.

So now you realise it’s possible, let’s suggest a few systems to fast-track your results

Make Technology Your Friend

Beware though! No point getting carried away with Twitter if your client base doesn’t follow it. Talk to your clients and prospects – find out what form of technology works for them. I recently had a client tell me his fingers were too fat for texting, so it doesn’t work for him. A different handset might solve the problem, but I made a physical note – phone Jim S. – don’t text if you want a response quickly.

Group sports followers together, so that you are able to do a blanket text – Sydney Swans lead by 6 points with one message to a group of fans quickly and strategically. Rather than individual texts or none at all. Never assume everyone loves the team you are passionate about, even follow the sport or sports in general. Getting to know your network is critical.

Keep It Together!

When you attend a non BNI networking event implement a couple of really simple systems. Print off the invitation to the event and insert into a plastic sleeve. When you return from the event, put the business cards you have collected into the plastic sleeve.

If you have gently turned down the corner of the business cards of the people you need to follow up with, then they will stand out from the others. Put the plastic sleeve into your “networking activity” 2-ring binder immediately.

Then if you don’t get a chance to action it today, or want to refer back to the people, whom you met – it is all together. Remember one in four of the people you meet at business networks will become a prospect, referee, client and/or new friend – but only if you follow up.

Be Prepared

Picture a coloured manila folder with a flap, so that things don’t fall out of the folder. You can buy an exotic version of this folder or stick to a cardboard one – whichever you prefer is fine. This is your colourful networking follow up pack. Assuming that the bulk of your workstation has a lot of white paper on it, your networking folder will stand out – for all the right reasons.

When you purchase the folder, you may also collect some stationery – coloured paper, coloured envelopes (so they stand out), happy birthday cards, sympathy cards, congratulations cards. This might also be the spot where you keep copies of your favourite articles, cartoons, your own hard copy newsletter, with compliments slips etc. All these bits and pieces that are generally scattered throughout your work place – are now in one spot for easy access.

Imagine you have read in your community newspaper or heard at a BNI chapter meeting that your peer or a prospect was a runner up or a winner in a local award. As a pro-active networker, you want to congratulate that person for their achievements. A phone call or email would be appreciated. A hand written congratulations card with your business card enclosed will have an even greater impact.

In the same way, you hear one of your BNI chapter member’s has had a death in the family or death of a close friend. You take the initiative to send a sympathy card or flowers on behalf of your chapter.

Think about the best networkers in your BNI chapter. Over the last 12 months, you may have received a variety of contacts and correspondence from them for all sorts of reason.

Was anything they did, something that you would not be able to duplicate? Probably not, it all boils down to thoughtfulness, systems, being pro-active and staying connected. And it all starts with 15 minutes per day.

Happy networking until next time.

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 : Networking Systems
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