The Angle Of Industry – by YP Lai

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by YP Lai

National Director, BNI Thailand, BNI Vietnam & BNI Philippines


I have always looked forward to the International Networking Week. It is an opportunity to bring people from different organizations, different sectors and different interests together. Some of the friendships and businesses that has developed from the International Networking Week activities has been simply amazing. Great things happen when positive minded people network together!


This year, the theme for the 2018 International Networking Week is “Diversity”. Diversity could be seen from many different angles, ethnicity, professions, geographical locations, age groups, and so on. I want to explore Diversity from the angle of industry – the industry in which your profession belongs to. For example, a caterer would belong to the events industry, an architect to the building industry and a graphic designer would belong to the public relation and marketing industry.


Studies have shown that most business professionals have a tendency to network with people within their industry and in specific geographical regions. When I reflected on my previous career, it was so true! As the General Manager of a property development company, my network consists of architects, engineers, builders, contractors, surveyors and building material suppliers. I had very few contacts outside the construction industry, and outside of my hometown in Penang.


When I joined BNI, and that was a good 16+ years ago, it was a real eye opener. I was then exposed to people from many different industries. There were people from the Financial Services, Business Support, IT and Technology, Health and Wellness, Food and Beverage, Event Managers, Legal and Professional Services, Manufacturing and Industries, Beauty and many others. Suddenly everyone had the opportunity to bring their business into sectors that they had previously not thought of.


One of the best success stories is Wayne the Optometrist.


The typical modus operandi of an Optometrist is to open an outlet in a shopping mall, and then attract walk-in customers.  They would use pull up banners advertising special promotions, give out flyers in the mall and use social media marketing to attract more customers. Every day the Optometrist will pray for more walk-ins. Wayne was no different until he joined a BNI Group. He then worked closely with William the cleaner. Now, William is not the typical residential or office cleaner. Instead, he specializes in cleaning factories and has good relationships with many of the factory managers in the industrial zone.


William helped Wayne to connect with the Human Resource manager of the factories, and arranged for free eye tests for the factory operators. Wayne and his team will then set up station at the factory canteen for a week, screening through thousands of factory operators, and immediately giving out prescriptions for spectacles for those needing corrective eyewear. And as you can guess, Wayne created special heavily discounted eyewear packages for the factory operators, and almost everyone who needed spectacles chose from those packages. Two weeks later, Wayne was back at the factory dispensing the spectacles. It was “Diversity”, the ability to tap into other industries that had allowed Wayne to work outside the traditional “wait and pray for customers” model to actively pursue new customers right at the factories themselves.


Wayne’s success stories had inspired many of his BNI group members to go outside their traditional marketing channel and get customers from other non-typical industries. Like the tailor who worked with the member representing college student recruitment, and secured a contract to provide inexpensive suits for students for their internship programme.


So, this year, at the International Networking Week event, we will be bringing business professionals from different industries, and from different regions. At the same time, having a balanced representation of various age groups, gender, and interests. By bringing such diversity to the International Networking Week, we believe that every participant will be enriched by the new relationships formed.


Wishing everyone a successful International Networking Week!


YP Lai

National Director, BNI Thailand, BNI Vietnam & BNI Philippines

International Networking Week 2017

Marc-William Attié

Diversity Should Be Part Of Our Core Values. – by Marc-William Attié

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Marc-William Attié
Directeur National, France et Belgique francophone

When I first attended a BNI meeting in the UK in 2003 my first impression was WOW and the second one was: this is incredible to see so different people working together. My previous experiences in my professional life were that people talk and develop relationships with people who are like themselves.

Since these days until today, the importance and power of diversity have clearly shown its efficiency. Different backgrounds, different level of revenues, different type of education, different professions, different cultures, all of that is not only a possibility but a must have.

When a chiropractor refer a Web designer, or a landscaper refers a lawyer, or a charter accountant refer an architect (and I could continue like that forever) that shows the efficiency of diversity.

In the early days of BNI in France, I remember a massage therapist who has been able to refer a lawyer specialized in banking laws to the legal manager of one of the main French bank. That would never have been possible if we did not encourage diversities and chapters. The regular one-to-ones will help to build bridges and create a strong relationship with people that could have been considered to be too different to work together.

The chapters which show the highest return are often those which have a very high level of efficiency.

Our average chapters in France and Belgium have 26% women and 74% men. When we reach over 40% women the return usually increases.

Diversity is not only a “want to be” but a “should be”. Our Director team is so diverse. The only things we really share are our values. And that’s the most important.

Let’s use the INW to open even more, let’s invite people in our chapters that are not necessary entrepreneurs but that we can help and we will see that they will help the chapters to go further. It will help create new relationship and open new networks.

Let’s dare to work the diversity as a tool. In fact my belief is that diversity should be part of our core value.

Marc-William ATTIE | Director National

BNI France and BNI Belgium francophone

Telephone: +33 1 84 17 14 50

International Networking Week 2017

Charlie Lawson

Networking in the Gutter – by Charlie Lawson

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Charlie Lawson
National Director BNI UK & Ireland

I once attended a networking event with about 200 business owners. Alongside the open networking sessions, there were some speaker sessions.

Unfortunately one of the speakers wasn’t a great speaker. I found myself rather slumped in my chair, wondering if I could escape for a coffee. But just then, the session ended. The facilitator for the day came on to the stage and promised to find some business opportunities for someone in the room.

This woke me up a bit, but he really caught my attention when he said he wanted to find business opportunities for the person with the ‘strangest’ (his word) profession. He clarified: he wanted to see if he could help the attendee with the most obscure business, that ordinarily, it might seem impossible to find business for.

Various hands went up – and as a few professions got offered and rebutted – one gentleman, a guy called Matthew, stood up and announced that he manufactured and sold small plastic parts for commercial sewage systems. That was all he did.

Talk about obscure: he had one product. That product was only used in one application – sewage systems – and let’s face it, how much do most of us know about sewage systems?!?

I, along with most of the rest of the audience, sat back to watch what I was sure would be an absolute car crash: the facilitator trying his best to help Matthew get some business opportunities, but then having to accept that his business was just too obscure.

How wrong I was.

Having asked Matthew to tell us briefly about a few of his recent clients (mainly local councils), and whom he wanted to speak to (mainly more local councils and public service bodies), there were about 50 different people who all had contacts that they would be able to connect Matthew with.

Clearly – they were all only potential business opportunities – firstly, Matthew had to prove himself worthy of being introduced, and secondly, like any referral, he would then need to sell himself and his product to the client: but wow – what a response from the room.

What does this story tell you?

For me, it’s about the diversity of networking. Firstly, you don’t have to be in a ‘mainstream’ profession to benefit from networking. As Matthew’s case indicates – it can be a case of the more diverse, the better.

Secondly, I learned how diverse our networks are if we take the time to find out. I didn’t know Matthew before attending this networking event, but I made sure I had a chat with him after. He’d come along because he’d had his arm twisted by a friend. He was quite sure that he wouldn’t meet anyone who’d be helpful for him and his business. Indeed, he’d thought just the same as I had when he was called out for the business generation exercise. The facilitator would surely fall flat on his face!

However, of all the people in the room who had offered up would-be business opportunities, the most interesting and potentially most lucrative came from his friend that had persuaded him to come in the first place! He’d just never asked.

International Networking Week 2017

2018 International Networking Week®

Welcome to the 2018 International Networking Week®

The 2018 International Networking Week® is an initiative of BNI®.

International Networking Week 2018 features a number of networking events occurring the week of February 5 through 9, 2018 worldwide! #BNIINW18

Welcome to the 11th annual International Networking Week®

This Year’s International Networking Week Theme: DIVERSITY!

Networks are by nature “clumpy”. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us—but that’s not the most powerful kind of network. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. Therefore, when we surround ourselves with people who have similar contacts it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business. The more diverse your network, the more powerful it is. It’s the people who are not like you who can connect you to a completely new “cluster.”

One of the most important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity. A diverse personal network enables you to have people in your circle as connectors to other people in communities where you may lack contacts.

Please watch this video to learn more…

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Simultaneous events are being held globally this week to celebrate International Networking Week®. For more information about networking events in your local community please see

The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you! The map can be downloaded from either the Google play store or the Apple Store for iPhones. GET THE MOBILE APP.

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: O is for… (by Andy Lopata)

This month, Andy Lopata shares his networking tips which begin with the letter “O”

  • Oasis
  • Obligations
  • Observations
  • Offer Support
  • Open Heart and Minds
  • Openings
  • Opportunities
  • Optimizing Your Network
  • Organization
  • Owning The Space

and more about Networking.

Click here to watch this video

Please click below to see Andy’s playlist of his networking tips from A to Z.

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results. If you have any comments about Andy’s “N” list or any additional “N” words about “Networking” you will want to add to the list. please leave me a “Note” as a “Comment”  below.

Andy Lopata

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.


Why Make All the Mistakes, When We Can Learn from Others?

There are “tried-and–true” networking techniques that are so simplistic they seem that they cannot be really effective.  Many times, we try to re-evaluate, improve upon and complicate them.  Why make all the mistakes, when we can learn from others? An experience I had once while on vacation reminds me of how we try to make some things harder than they really are.

I was in Hawaii enjoying the surf when, unbeknownst to me, the water became thick with Portuguese Man O’War jellyfish.  Suddenly I felt a stinging sensation across my chest.  I wiped my chest with my right wrist and arm and lifted my arm up out of the water.  I saw the tentacles dripping off my arm and followed them with my eyes about 8 feet away to the body of the Man O’War jellyfish.   With mounting alarm, I shook the tentacles off my wrist back into the water and quickly swam out of the surf to the shore.

I ran up to the first hotel employee I saw, a cabana boy, who was serving drinks to a sunbathing couple just off the pool deck and urgently exclaimed, “I think I’ve just been hit in the chest by a Man O’War jellyfish!  What should I do??”

“Are you feeling any pressure in your chest?” he wanted to know.

“No, none at all,” I replied anxiously.

“Okay, okay, here’s what you need to do.  Go on over to the market off the lobby and ask for some vinegar and meat tenderizer.  You’re going to want to spray the vinegar onto your chest. Shake the meat tenderizer onto the same spot and rub it all around.  You’ll be fine,” he assured me.

Well, I must say that I was less than impressed with this bizarre advice.  He was entirely too calm and that was entirely too easy to be a real solution – not to mention that it was just plain strange.  I figured he was doing a version of “let’s goof on the tourist,” so I moved on to ask someone else for help.

I spotted a hotel employee standing not too far off and gingerly jogged over to him, urgently repeating my exclamation, “I’ve just been hit in the chest by a Man O’War jellyfish; what should I do?!”

He said, “Are you feeling any pressure in your chest?”  Oh boy, I thought, next he’s going to tell me to get some meat tenderizer!  I thought he was kidding, or maybe I was in a bad dream and just couldn’t wake up.

“No, I’m not feeling any pressure in my chest,” I reluctantly responded.

“Okay, then go over to the market off the lobby and ask for some vinegar and meat tenderizer.  You have to get that on your chest and rub it around and then you’ll be just fine,” he said reassuring.  I felt anything but reassured.

By this time, I thought that maybe I better find someone who might really know what to do.  I headed up to the lobby, thinking that the hotel manager would be a good choice to get a straight answer from.

There at the front desk was a mature gentleman wearing a badge that read: “Hotel Manager.”  Surely, I thought, this guy’s not going to “goof on the tourist.”  I walked up to him and repeated my mantra about the jellyfish strike.  He looked at me with grave concern and said, “Are you feeling any pressure in your chest.”  “No,” I replied, “I’m not feeling any chest pain.”  “OK, good,” he said.  “You need to go down the hall to the small market and get some vinegar and meat tenderizer and put them on one at a time and rub them thoroughly into your chest.”

Finally, I said what I’d been thinking all along… “You can’t be serious, right?”  This is a joke, right?”  “No,” he reassured me this was not a joking matter.  “You need to proceed to the store immediately and apply the remedy.”

Reluctantly, I headed down the hall to the store just knowing that they were all back there laughing at the goofy tourist who was actually going to do a self-imposed “meat rub” on his chest.  I was sure they had some barbecue grill going for when I returned to the lobby all slathered up with vinegar and meat tenderizer.

Entering the small market off the lobby, I  started my search for char-grilled products when I started feeling short of breath.  Suddenly, very quickly and forcefully, I began to experience a crushing weight on my chest.  Was I having a heart attack?  Great!  I’m having a coronary after wasting so much time talking to members of the hotel staff, who were trying to get me to rub meat tenderizer on my chest.  I walked out of the store and staggered to the front desk, which by now was very busy with new guests checking in to the hotel.  I made eye contact with the hotel manager and almost immediately, dropped to the ground, clutching my chest, barely able to gasp “Man O’War!”

What happened next was a total blur.  I seem to remember a small child yelling and pointing at me as I lay there in my bathing suit, gasping for breath.

“Look mommy, there’s a man on the floor.”  The mother said something about staying away from people who do drugs.  I looked over and tried to say no, not drugs – jellyfish! But all that came out was gibberish.

The paramedics rushed to the scene.  Finally, I will be receiving the medical attention I needed. After determining what had happened, the paramedic opened his life-saving kit and I knew he was about to pull out a defibrillator.  I made my peace with God and I braced myself for the big jolt.  Instead, he pulled out – yes, you guessed it – vinegar in a spray bottle and some Adolf’s meat tenderizer!  He then proceeded to spray the vinegar and then sprinkle the meat tenderizer on my chest, and thoroughly rub the mixture around.  Within seconds, literally seconds, the excruciating pain began to subside.  Within a couple minutes, it was almost completely gone.

What I thought was a big “barbeque joke” on the tourist turns out to be a well-known cure for some jellyfish strikes.  You see, the meat tenderizer contains the enzyme papain, which breaks down the toxin proteins and neutralizes them.  It sounds too simple to be really effective, but it is, in fact, one of the best things to do in that situation.

Thinking back on it, I am amazed at how many people gave me the solution before I had to learn the hard way.  Sure, who’s going to believe a cabana boy?  I mean, what does he know, right?  And the hotel employee – OK, maybe there’s the start of a pattern here but, I have a doctoral degree – I’m “smart,” and these guys have just got to be kidding me… right?  And then the hotel manager as well… OK, I admit it, at that point, there’s just no excuse.  Why did I not figure out these guys knew what they were talking about and I did not?

Do not make one of the biggest mistakes that people in business make. Listen to the people who have experience.  I assumed that I just had to know better… and the truth is, I didn’t know better.

There is nothing like experience.  It beats education every day of the week.  The only thing better is a combination of education and experience… or a willingness to learn from other people’s experience. There are many basic referral marketing and networking techniques that any good businessperson knows to be effective.  They don’t try to look for something more complicated or involved because they know from their own experience, as well as the experience of others, what works in business and what doesn’t work in business.

Throughout your life, you may read things that seem too simple to be effective. Ideas that you’ve heard before.  Don’t dismiss them.  Embrace them.  Although these ideas may be simple – they are not easy.  If it they were easy, everyone would do them – and they don’t!  Great networkers learn from other people’s success.  So, go get that vinegar and meat tenderizer and learn from other “masters” that sometimes the simplest ideas can have the biggest impact.

Working IN versus ON

Working IN versus ON with Tiffanie Kellog

Tiffany Kellog joins Jason Avery to discuss his journey from being the worker to being the owner. They offer the following tips about Working IN versus ON your business:

  1. Find someone who could do the labor
  2. Hire a General Manager so you can focus on referrals
  3. Bring in more labor crews to support the added work
  4.  Bring in office staff to support the business


About Tiffanie Kellog

For more information on Tiffanie Kellog, please visit her website at

Tiffanie Kellog is a professional speaker and trainer with Asentiv, and is co-owner of a business with her husband.  Therefore, Tiffanie has helped entrepreneurs over the years make more money while saving time. Thus, they can have more fun. She is dedicated to helping others make more in less time. Click here to view more video blogs by Tiffanie Kellog.

To contact Tiffanie, call her at 813-263- 9690 or email at

Tiffanie Kellog is a referral marketing expert who has been sharing how to create an amazing business & spectacular life for the past 12 years. You can learn MORE about Tiffanie at

Tiffanie loves to speak to groups around the globe on how to grow their business by referral as well as creating more time in their lives.

Include a P.S. In Your Email Signature

In our latest book, Networking Like a Pro 2nd Edition, Brian Hilliard, the co-author of our book discusses making a brief addition—a P.S. message—to your email signature. It is easy but is not used very often. At the end of your automated signature, include something like this:

P.S. A great referral for me would be someone who brings in speakers for their organization. If you know someone who needs a speaker in the areas of Marketing, Mindset, and Personal Achievement, I’d appreciate it if you mention my name. Thanks!

A message very similar to that goes out on all of the emails from Brian Hilliard. The number of referrals those simple words generate is surprising.

If you really want to kick it up a notch, then consider changing your message every two or three months. This can be especially useful for people who work in industries that are seasonal. In March, you’re asking for one type of referral, and then in June, you’re mentioning a different one. Furthermore, this helps keep your message fresh and gets people to pay attention to your email signature!

Referrals do not happen overnight. Referrals take a great deal of time and thought. It takes a good bit of energy put toward deepening the relationships of those around you. When you get organized and structure your referral-generating activities into a formalized strategy like we outlined above, you will absolutely find an increase in referral-based business. Good luck!

Desperate Networkers

Four Desperate Networkers

Desperation is not referable. When people demonstrate certain behaviors as part of their networking efforts, it’s a tell-tale sign of desperation. Here are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit:

Click here to watch this video

The Card Dealer

This is probably the most common form of desperation that I’ve seen over the years. The Card Dealer is a person that darts around the room passing out cards like they’re at a poker table. They don’t spend time really getting to know anyone (unless they think they can get something from them). To the Card Dealer, networking is mostly a numbers game. The more people they can pass their cards to – the better they’re doing (or so they think). Card Dealers tend to have a network that is a mile wide but an inch deep because they don’t spend time building relationships. It never works in the long-run and they just look inexperienced, frazzled, and yes – desperate.

The Space Violator

Here’s the guy that thinks the closer he gets when he’s talking to you, the more you’ll be interested in what he’s saying. Nope. Not true. In fact, it has the opposite effect (especially if his breath has the aroma of a smelly camel). So, what’s the right distance to stand from someone without getting into their personal space? The answer to this question varies based on the cultural standards of the country you are in. In North America, it’s fairly common to have conversations at roughly “arm’s length” for people that you meet at a networking event. From my experience that distance is definitely less in some countries around the world. What’s also interesting is the issue of gender and personal space or “proxemics.” According to a “Journal of Psychology” study, “male-male pairs tend to interact at greater personal distances, whereas female-female pairs tend to interact closer.”

The Premature Solicitor

This is the person who confuses networking with direct selling. They meet you and immediately go into sales mode. They want you to do business with them without asking questions about you, your business, your interests, or your needs first. To this person, everyone is a target and every target is a dollar sign. These people are the reason why many individuals don’t like to go to networking events. They go to meetings and feel slimmed by people soliciting them for business. They leave the meeting and run home to get a shower.

The New Best Friend

Follow-up with the people you meet at a networking event is important. But be a professional – not a stalker. The New Best Friend is the over-eager seller who after you meet at a networking event – calls you, emails you, social media messages you, and tries to become your New Best Friend in the space of just a few days. Generally, they’re not actually trying to help you – they simply want to sell something to you. Granted, they may want to sell something to you because in their mind – it’s only to “help you,” but it’s never really about you. It’s about what they want from you. Desperation seeps from their pores. I’ve experienced this many times over my career. The one that stands out the most in my mind happened a couple years ago. I met a young man (late 20’s) at a networking event and he went right into “New Best Friend” mode – calling several times, emailing every day, messaging me on Facebook etc. But when he wrote me and said that he thought of himself like my son (yes, seriously – he said that) and he needed my help in his business venture – I had to pull the plug. I tried to pull it gently by talking about the importance of establishing credibility before pitching something and that the process of developing credibility takes time. Curiously, my “new son” abandoned me.

Desperation is not referable. Remember these behaviors when you go to networking events and whatever you do – don’t demonstrate these behaviors yourself. Remember that networking is more about farming, than it is about hunting.


Storytellers are Important in Networking

Before television there was radio. Before radio there were books. And before books there were storytellers. The power of a well-told tale, passed down from generation to generation and recited from memory over a campfire, is the power that brought people together and formed the beginnings of cultures that have lasted even to the present day. No matter what the medium – stone tablets, movies, grocery store tabloid, the Internet – the story is central.
A good story stays with people and compels them to share it with others. It’s as true today as it was two thousand years ago – and it’s especially true of success stories. Everyone likes to hear them; everyone likes to have one. And doesn’t this align nicely with word-of-mouth marketing, where referrals are based on thousands of individual success stories? Every time one networker passes a referral to another, she is telling a story about a need fulfilled successfully or a problem solved effectively.
 “A number of years ago, I met Robert Dickman, author of The Elements of Persuasion, and he taught me the formula for a good story:
A story is a fact
Wrapped in emotion
That compels us to take action
That transforms us in some way
Networking Up

Networking Up: Connecting with Successful People

We’ve all heard the advice: “you become the people you hang out with”. This means that you need to surround yourself with successful people (however you define success). Plus, you also need to be networking up to raise the bar for yourself over time. Having run the world’s largest business networking organization for more than three decades, one of the things I’ve learned is that: There’s generally room at the top.  It’s the bottom that’s really crowded.  So how do you start networking above your weight class to move your way up? Here are seven things I recommend that will help you accomplish that goal.

One of the most important endeavors for our professional success is also one of the most confusing and daunting for so many. That endeavor is “networking up” – connecting in a meaningful and memorable way with those who are at a higher level of success or whose influence and connection could potentially change everything for your business.

Finally, remember that if you’re always the most successful person in the room, you’re hanging out in the wrong rooms.  Take these five suggestions and start “networking up” to the right rooms.

BNI is 33 years old TODAY!

BNI® is 33 years old Today!

BNI is 33 years old TODAY! The official kick-off of the first BNI group was January 8th, 1985.

33 years ago, I put together about 20 people in a small coffee shop in Arcadia, California for the very first meeting of BNI® (Business Network International).  Furthermore, the original organization, “The Network”, was run from a small bedroom which was converted into an office inside my house in La Verne, California. I recognized back then that I had struck a chord within the business community.  We don’t teach networking in colleges and universities anywhere in the world, and business people are hungry for referrals. They simply had no viable way to generate them regularly back in 1985.

In some ways, it seems like yesterday.

BNI is 33 years old Today!

Please watch my special 33rd birthday message video by clicking here.

In light of BNI’s 33rd anniversary, I share the story of BNI’s surprisingly accidental beginnings. Furthermore, I open up about my astonishment at just how successful BNI has become. A must-watch video for BNI members worldwide!

What are you going to do today, that your future self will thank you for?

Please answer this question in the comments below.

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