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?

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