Life would be boring if we were all the same, not to mention challenging if we were to all go after exactly the same things! That’s why choosing one group among the hundreds of networking groups can be very difficult and quite daunting.
It doesn’t have to be though; it boils down to some core questions you need to ask yourself:
Q1:Am I the type of person who likes structure and wants to know what the meeting will be like?
A1:If you answer yes, then more structured networking groups like BNI would suit you.
Q2: Am I the type of person who likes to make it up as I go along?
A2: If the answer’s yes, then more informal networking groups might be right for you.
Q3: Am I the type of person who likes to know exactly when the next meeting will take place?
A3: If the answer’s yes then networking events like BNI would be the right choice, with meetings held at the same time on the same day each week so you can schedule your diary knowing exactly when your networking commitments are.
Q4: Am I looking to meet a diverse range of people?
A4: The answer in business should always be yes. Unlike most informal networking groups and events, BNI groups are organised into specific market sectors. This offers a two way benefit: (i) each group will only have one member from each specific market sector which means if you get into a group within your local area you are already ahead of your competitors and (ii) diversity is great for networking giving you an exciting wide range of new opportunities that otherwise might not have presented themselves.
Over the years networking groups have been tarnished with the image of ‘just another place to exchange a pocketful of business cards’. This may well be true of some networking groups, but with BNI membership = relationship = business reward. BNI isn’t just about giving you access to sales opportunities and a new route to entry for your products and services. It takes time to get to know the members in your group and in return for them to get to know you. But when you do, you’ll find that they’ll actively look for the business you want, on your behalf!
With the right mind-set from the start, you’re already half way to building new deep, effective relationships. You can build up trust in your fellow members through the weekly 60 second speaking opportunity – your chance to enlighten members about your business – as well as face-to-face engagement before the networking event begins.
Think bigger and outside the room. Imagine how many contacts your Chapter members will have between them. Think about how many average contacts a member has on their social media channels – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. These are all your potential contacts as well; much more than you could ever fit into just one room.
That’s the real potential of successful networking – now is the time to build relationships and you’ll soon leverage that potential.
To find your nearest BNI networking event visit http://www.bni.co.uk/findameeting.php.