Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Handy Networking Tool

During our course, Certified Networker, we encourage our students to have their networking tools with them at all times. Contained on that list is a supply of business cards, your calendar, a pen for notes and of course a name tag.

In my last post I talked about how one to one meetings are a mainstay of the BNI conference and that most attendees know NOT to interrupt two people who are sitting and chatting. At this conference I did experience several interruptions. Don't know why, but they did happen.

I got to thinking that maybe one more networking tool is needed. Perhaps each person needs some sort of a portable sign, like a table tent, that announces, "One to one in progress, please do not interrupt." Sort of like the "Baby on Board" signs!

Just a thought......

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Getting to Know You

I am back from the BNI 25th Annual National Conference. What a wonderful 4 days of information and relationship continuation.

BNI fosters relationship development at their conferences by building time for one-to-one meetings right into the schedule. Instead of the word "break" (there are just a few of those) the unstructured time line of the conference program lists blanks for writing in the appointments we have with other conference attendees. It's a reminder to fill our book! Many people start these one-to-one meetings at 6 AM in order to get to all the people they want to meet.

There is also an understanding that if you see two people sitting and chatting, that you are NOT to interrupt them. This works really well because it means that these important conversations are not interrupted and the time spent is well-spent. We also ask each other when the appointments are scheduled what the topic of conversation is going to be. This is not to say that personal information is ignored entirely, but that the meetings are focused.

I have been to other types of conferences in the past, but I have never been involved with another group that fosters the building of relationships as well as BNI does.

What is your experience at your conferences?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Social Media Provides Connections

New BNI member, Tim Saddoris, Infostream Solutions, shared how we might produce even more referrals using Linkedin. He explained that if our members make a specific request for a company, that we can research the company using a Linkedin feature. Those employees of the company listed with Linkedin will appear along with their title AND the people you have in common with them. Wow!

I can tell you that with one attempt, I was able to make a connection for a referral request that had been asked for several times in the past, but I never knew that I had that connection that I could ask for help.

Social Media is more than just a listing!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Learning Experience

OK, I'm about ready to head out to the National BNI Conference in Pittsburgh this week. BNI really encourages the participants of the conference to have one-to-one meetings with each other to share knowledge and ideas. Some people are very effieicent with getting these appointment set up in advance. Hmmmm, I'm guess I'm not one of them.

I do have one solid appointment and two maybees. But I am just going to approach this differently this time. I am going to schedule with those who I know nothing about and see what I can learn from them, instead of having a preconceived notion of who I should meet with.

It's a little scary doing it this way, but I'll let you know how it turns out.