Thursday, May 30, 2013
In BNI each week, one member gets to give a 8-10 minute presentation so the rest of the members get to know the featured member better. It is one more brick in the strong BNI relationship wall. In the past, it was the job of the Secretary/Treasurer to introduce this member before they began. Nowadays many chapters allow the speaker to ask another member to make the intro. It is an honor to be asked.
Many years ago (at least ten) I was at a BNI meeting when the presenting member asked someone from outside the chapter membership to give his intro. Because of time efficiencies, the intro should normally only last about 1 minute at the most. In this instance, it went on for at least five minutes, but it felt like an hour. All of us were uncomfortable with this turn of events but at that point I would not have been able to say why.
Now I can!
There were really two issues. Because the member asked someone (let's call her Connie) from outside the membership, he delivered a message that he didn't have a strong enough relationships with any members to perform this very important task. Looking back now, I think I felt sort of kicked to the curb. The second issue was the the rules were broken. BNI has a very structured format, (because it works!) and when Connie didn't bother to find out what those rules were (1 minute intro) she made all of us squirm a little. I think probably I was embarrassed for her and for our member.
What can we learn from this? When asked to speak, find out who will be introducing you. Try to spend a little time with that person to allow them to get to know you. Additionally, ask what is expected for the intro or even take it a step farther and ask for a copy of one that has been successfully used in the past. The introduction can either be a springboard to a wonderful presentation or a ditch, that you spend way too much time trying to climb out of to get to a good starting point. It's your choice!
Do you have any thoughts about this?