So it was an early start this morning. Michael and Garry had invited me to tag along as their guest for the annual BNI Members Day which is held each year in London. I had no idea what to expect. We got there very early to get set up, Michael had made some brilliant stands for both his company McSquare and also a brand new funky banner for our company ‘Loving Social Media‘. We got there at 6.30am but I have to tell you, we were not the first to arrive, almost but not quite…
We got set up, Georgia joined us from Marshmallow (graphic designer extraordinaire). chatted to the people around us and before you knew it, the day was in full swing.
The room was humming by 7, full of keen business people, who are passionate about their business but also the cool thing about BNI, is as I learnt today, their main ethos is ‘givers gain’. Now me being a huge Beach Boys fan (sorry Michael you knew music would be in here sooner or later) on the back of their ‘Smiley Smile’ album it says ‘The Smile you send out returns to you’ and I have always held true to that in my life, so to see it used on such a vast scale here was a joy. Also It works, the people I met today, some I had met before, are testament to the fact that they make most of their profit in their business by being a member of BNI. In fact at one point during the day, Phil asked us to fill out a card with the approximate amount of potential business we had in the can after meeting people today, the figure was a staggering 4.43 million. In just one day, amazing…. that’s the other thing I like about the BNI you are actually tracked on the business you make and also more importantly the connections you have made for others… It’s all accountable, that’s probably why Paul Moston likes it so much (our brilliant accountant :-)).
So just to tell you about the day, there was an awful lot of networking but to borrow a phrase from Mr Kousoulou, the day was ‘peppered’; with some brilliant speakers and I mean brilliant.
A chap called Niri Patel got the ball rolling with a very lively talk, which included board breaking but also a lot of humor peppered (there’s that word again Garry) with lots of wisdom. The bit’s I jotted down amongst others was that ‘people gravitate towards people who make them feel good’ also ‘attitude not aptitude determine altitude’. There were loads like that and then at the end he inspired two members of the audience to break a wooden board.
Sam Rathling was next up. She is a BNI director in Ireland but is in fact from the Netherlands. Her talk was really great she was very inspirational and has made 95% of her profit through her BNI connections, and it all started when she went to her first BNI and a chap called Patrick asked her for a 121, they were chatting away for 90 minutes and she said, hang on we really must talk about you, to which he replied, not this meeting is all about you! and that was it, from that meeting Sam was off….. she got some great business from Patrick, but also learnt the key ingredient to BNI ‘givers gain’. She also shared her tops tips with us and also gave us a great reading list.
Charlie Lawson was another great speaker. His talk was mainly focused on ‘givers gain’ and in fact during his talk he got us all to write down people we wanted to meet and also our best clients, then we had 20 minutes or so to network and see if we couldn’t help out our colleagues and get them to their dream clients. It was a great idea and some people made some brilliant connections. Charlie was also kind enough to stand up on stage and announce to the group that we at Loving Social Media are in fact hoping to make contact with Amanda McKenzie of Mothercare… So watch this space as two people in the room knew her.
There were some other talks but we were also manning the stand, the last talk I managed to see was by a chap called Mark Rhodes who was brilliant. He basically visualises what he wants and gets it.. its as simple as that. He said people think it sounds barmy but he does, he used to be terrified of speaking in public but now it’s just like talking to friends. He got to grips with his life and made his money and now helps others do the same with the ‘Millionaire Mentor‘ which he was hand picked for by Dragons Den star James Caan.
At the close of the day as we adjourned to the pub Garry looked at me with a huge grin on his face and said ‘this is my life, these are the people that get me, they are all as enthusiastic as me when it comes to their businesses’. I’m not sure anyone can be quite as passionate as Garry but I certainly knew what he meant.
Michael and I took ooddles of videos of those there on the day, including the speakers so I will be popping them up on here over the next few days.
Check out what Michael had to say about the day here: