Why I am a BNI ambassador?


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 www.networkingtowin.com.au

Categories : BNI Fundamentals


  1. Hi Robyn

    Your article is great, spot on.

    I am also a member of BNI in Scotland, Glasgow, Trailblazers chapter.

    Ive been a member for over 3 years now and I must admit that it took a while before it sunk in. Dont try and fix something thats not broken so to speak, I agree follow the process because it does work.

    I have just been appointed as Regional Ambassador, looking after over 200 hundred members and growing.

    If you ever come to Scotland please give me a call.

    With Kindest Regards

    Khaleel Mohammed

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