Yesterday I wrote a comment on Kent Blumberg’s topic “How to prepare and deliver a great speech” and mentioned there that his tips for a speech would also come in handy for BNI’s 60 seconds presentations. Kent asked me to explain BNI and my comment further. Well, here goes:
BNI stands for Business Network International, a business breakfast network organisation which meets on a weekly bases in aim to refer more business among its members by its members. As so many other business clubs (try) to do.
IMHO and although I don’t always agree with BNI head-office, BNI chapters are more successful in doing so than other business referral clubs/organisations for the simple reason that BNI is based on ‘Givers Gain’. And not just in: I give you business, you give me business; it goes much deeper than that.
We had been members for 4 years when we didn’t renew our membership 1.5 years ago, due to circumstances (lack of transport being one of them, opening a showroom and working flat out another). Now we’re thinking of rejoining again.
When we became a BNI-Ashford member all those years ago we managed and worked for another company (which went bust, but that’s a very different story). At first I saw the weekly meetings just as an opportunity for ‘branding’: making more people (commercial or domestic) aware of our product and services. This soon changed.
And those who do only see it as a branding opportunity miss out on a lot of network benefits (and most don’t stay member long, disappointed as they become when their expectations – growing their business without giving others their due – aren’t met).
What I experienced week after week was contacts, contacts and contacts; given freely without a second thought. Business contacts of course, but also social contacts, personal contacts. And when you’re a stranger in a strange country that is even more important (for who didn’t know: we’re Dutch people living and working in the UK for almost 7 years now).
Especially during the period when the company we worked for went under and we had to make a very hard decision: going back ‘home’ or ‘going-it-alone’ our membership of BNI-Ashford came up trumps. I’m still convinced that without certain chapter members we wouldn’t be where we are today. I won’t mention names, but they know who they are and anyway, most are ‘hidden’ in my novel. They ‘pulled’ us through and pulled us forward, all based on that one principle: givers gain.
Giving advice, giving help, giving confidence-believe in us, even a shoulder to cry on; gaining a new company not loosing one, gaining the pleasure (pride even) in the fact that we are growing and becoming successful. I owe them a lot.
But besides that, BNI-Ashford membership also taught me speaking in public (still with an accent), learn how to ask for business and become better in the so-called ‘elevator-pitch’ i.e 60 seconds presentation.
Even though Kent’s list of tips is about a much longer speeches I definitely will use his tip 5A:
“Write your decisive ending first. Everything in your talk will lead to this final statement. By writing it first, you have a clear picture of your destination”
and Ron W tip 3 in his comment:
“Use an "X" factor. This is something different that will make them remember your speech. Examples include burning a dollar, using a creative video, or standing on a chair. It's the Purple Cow of speeches.”
for every 60 seconds presentation in the (near) future.
Tips given freely; gaining recognition, gaining pride in seeing others using it?
Sounds like BNI ;-)
Related post: Best 60 seconds presentation