Murali Srinivasan

The Language of Referrals – by Murali Srinivasan

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

Submitted by Murali Srinivasan

National Director – BNI India

It is so appropriate that the topic for this year’s International Networking Week is – Diversity.

Coming from India which is a country so diverse with so many different cultures, customs, habits and definitely different kinds of people, I have watched BNI and networking play a significant role in bringing them together to speak one language – the language of Referrals!!

It has been fascinating seeing business owners come together to understand each other’s business and work together to help each other grow.

At many meetings and networking events I have attended, I have seen the magic work. I start talking to another person first in their language to ask them what they do and try to understand their business. Once I show interest in their work the initial hesitation disappears and soon we find that we are setting up a meeting or connecting them to someone across the country.

Asheesh Chaddha

With the Indian economy doing well it is quite common to see startups who have relocated to a totally new city not knowing the local language or people, with the hope of making it big in business. Joining a local BNI Chapter is probably the best decision they make. They are surrounded by friendly people who are eager to help them succeed. I remember a Member in a Chapter in Mysore, Asheesh Chaddha, who is the business of Car Detailing. He relocated to Mysore to start his business. After joining a BNI Chapter, there now has his stores in over 20 locations across the state. He was a good networker who was good at listening to what others have to say and trying to help them whenever he could. His fellow Members were very supportive to help him grow and he went on the become President of the Chapter!!

The secret is all this to be able to network effectively with different kinds of people. We usually tend to talk to people who are like ourselves and we feel comfortable with. It is important that we learn how to get out of our comfort zone and network with other too. The results can be very effective

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2018!!

Murali Srinivasan National Director – BNI India

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 internationalnetworkingweek.com

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.

International Networking Week 2018

International Networking Week 2018®

International Networking Week 2018® is an initiative of BNI®. International Networking Week 2018 will feature a number of networking events across the world!

The 2018 International Networking Week® is just around the corner. Are you prepared to build a powerful personal network by inviting a diverse group people to your networking meeting from February 5 through 9, 2018? Check out the promo video for next year’s International Networking Week®. #BNIINW18

Are you planning on participating in International Networking Week®

Join us for the 11th Annual International Networking Week® on February 5-9, 2018

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 will be held globally to celebrate International Networking Week®. For more information or to promote your local networking event please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

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 the Google play store. However, the app will soon available in the Apple Store for iPhones. GET THE MOBILE APP on Android or Sign up for the soon-to-be-released Apple version

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