Geven Loont – Giver’s Gain Goes Dutch


rolandgroupAh, Australian summer holidays: beach, shimmering heat and BBQs…

But not for us this year: my husband Roland and I swapped the swimmers for some thermal underwear, the sunhat for a beanie, and the thongs for winter boots.  Because this January, we were off to ‘Holland’ for a business trip cum family visit (for the latter picture a mad mix of 50-odd Dutch folk, Germans and Italians, and you get the idea)!

The BNI Family Comes up Trumps

We always try and visit at least one BNI chapter in each country we visit, so this year we booked ourselves in for a cold (at least by Australian standards) Friday morning to visit the Dutch chapter BNI Vivaldi in Apeldoorn.

Why this chapter, you might ask.  Well, apart from having family in the area, it’s through a typical example of BNI networking we came to visit: Frederick Marcoux introduced us to the Dutch BNI director Peter Hemmen a while ago, who suggested we get in touch with regional Chapter Assistant Director Frans Brugman. One email, and Frans had us booked in – easy, helpful, done.

But back to that frosty Friday morning…

Welkom bij Vivaldi – Welcome!

When we arrived at BNI Vivaldi’s meeting place, De Wilde Pieters (beautifully and calmly run by chapter member Robert Pieters, by the way) the reception was anything but frosty: Frans Brugman was already waiting with a warm reception. And each arriving member, without fail, made a point of greeting each other and all visitors with a handshake.  It was impossible not to feel included and welcome.

This generous reception created some strong first impressions and instant connections. Roland and I both ended up having some valuable conversations, and I received two referrals before the meeting even started. Thank you, Vivaldi members!

First idea to take home, for sure.

The Vivaldi Experience

While we were mingling pre-meeting, president John Uittenhout made sure he personally welcomed us and introduced to his leadership team, Reinier Gieteling (Vice president) and Remco Bosveld (Treasurer).

Another nice touch was that seats for all of us visitors were reserved with a professional name card – no rushing needed to grab ourselves a good seat!

Let me make a note of this, … idea number 2.

While Roland is a native Dutch speaker, I only understand (not speak) it to a fair extend, and members were very accommodating of that fact.  A few jokes were flying around in English, and everyone happily let me present in English. Visitors’ presentations were listened to attentively and made a real focus of the meeting – a nice recognition for having made the effort to attend (and appreciation that visitors account for such a high percentage of closed business in BNI chapters worldwide). Bedankt, Team Vivaldi!

Idea 3: show visitors more of the appreciation they deserve; little things go a long way.

danielagroupI’ll be back!

The meeting had a strong emphasis of giving every visitor and presenter the opportunity to share their thoughts and message properly, while staying focussed and on time.

Having experienced such a welcoming, inclusive meeting of this fun and professional chapter, I’m not surprised that BNI Vivaldi and its current 31 members can look back on an outstanding €12 million (approx. AUD 18 million) closed business over the past five years!

I, for one, will be back.

Next time preferably in summer, though.

Daniela Cavalletti is the founder of Sydney-based boutique copywriting and communications agency Cavalletti Communications (affectionately known as CavaCom).  Daniela and her team are passionate about helping business owners, authors and brands find their unique voice, boldly stand out and become the leader in their marketplace.

Daniela’s husband Roland Hanekroot is the founder of New Perspectives Business Coaching in Sydney, and the author of “The Ten Truths for Business Owners” series of business books. Roland works with small business owners to help them have more Fun in their business – because when your business is Fun, it means everything is working.

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