Oh, What a Day! My Experience at BNI Australia’s Members Day


Small Fish Business Coach - Simon Thomas

This review was kindly provided by Simon Thomas a Small Fish Business Coach who is a member of the BNI Forest Chapter which is located in Sydney.

The clouds parted, the sun sparkled, and the closest available car park at the train station opened up as I came around the corner. This was the perfect start to what turned out to be an inspiring and fulfilling day.

Having only been with BNI for 10 months, I was really quite unsure as to what to expect. I rode the train into the city with the anxiety of having to meet hundreds of BNI members from all over Australia. Jeepers, did I have a massive wad of business cards weighing me down, I was not going to be caught empty handed. I arrived at the CitiGroup Building and proceeded to the dizzying heights of the 39th floor. What a glorious day to be high above beautiful Sydney. The harbour was glistening; the grass was green from past heavy rains and the sky bright from the cleansing of all the usual visible pollutants.

Much to my amazement the hordes of people for the event were minimal, in fact there were a total of about 70 people there for the day. The good news is that it certainly made it easier to get around, meet more people, and have longer, more meaningful conversations. The bad news is that everyone who missed the event did not get a chance to experience the innovation, excitement, and success of all the presenters and their respective regions.

So why was it that I spent all of Thursday night lying awake thinking of exciting things to tell BNI Forest the next morning at 7am? The biggest impact that this event had on me was the opportunity for true success. Not only for my BNI group as a whole but for me personally – the potential for my business. Oh, and there was also the fact that sex is different when networking. More on that later.

So, the big question for me going to this event was, what can we, as a chapter, implement to help us grow and achieve amazing results? The top three reasons for success in BNI chapters that personally hit home for me:

  • Accountability
  • Teamwork
  • Commitment

Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it. At face value, these are words that we expect but probably don’t spend a lot of time actually working on. But these really rang true for me because I had to ask myself: Are we as a group really being accountable for the passengers? Are we focused on developing a culture of teamwork where the truth in giving is all about others? And simply, is each and every member of the team as committed as they could be?

These words are not solely about BNI as an organisation. I walked away feeling like these should be engrained in our personal psyche and be a part of our mantra as business people seeking success for ourselves.

The truth in giving was evident throughout the day. This was borne out by the delivery of a lengthy and detailed email to my inbox the following day. It was from Bernie Hock – Regional Director (North Queensland). I had never met Bernie before, but we sat together throughout the day and he very happily provided me with insights into the success factors of his chapters. I now have the pleasure of going back to my chapter and assisting in the development of new ideas. Bernie agreed to stay in touch to see how we went. What an amazing display of commitment, teamwork, and accountability.

After the success of the day’s speakers, I whisked myself off to the evening event at the Grace Hotel. From the inspirational stories of how the BNI model can work for all of us, we moved into the more cheeky and fun part of the day. Networking.

All the way from the USA came Hazel Walker, co-author of “Networking and Sex, How Men and Women Do It Differently”. Hazel, with the assistance of Ivan Misner, surveyed over 12,000 people worldwide to get the insight into how we do it – networking – differently. It was an exceptionally humorous account of some of the findings and comments supplied back to the researchers. The takeaway from this session was that there is an absolutely clear difference in the way men and women communicate when networking, and that an awareness of this fact would benefit us all. I suggest you go check out the details at http://businessnetworkingandsex.com.

So, all in all it was an amazing day, if with a difficult sleep that night. I spent the rest of my night wondering how I could take this energy and enthusiasm back to my chapter to initiate change. Needless to say, the following morning my chapter copped a bouncing, no-holds-barred, adrenalin-junky speech about the success of the previous day. The great news for BNI Forest is that they all jumped on board…immediately. The great news for BNI Australia is that I look forward to telling everyone about our success at next year’s BNI Members Day. See you there!

Categories : Events


  1. Sounds like a fantastic day Simon!

  2. Glynn Pearman says:

    Thanks Simon, I feel like I missed out! Although, great that you could bring such insight and energy back to our chapter!

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