The Perfect BNI Meeting

This is your next meeting …

You get up at 5:45 a.m. with a special feeling: “It’s Thursday. It’s BNI day.”You know you are going to the most important business meeting of your week … but not with the dread of a sales meeting; not with the concern of an important client meeting; not with the worry of a “what-is-going-to-go-wrong-now?” meeting. No, this meeting is with your best business friends and your most valuable referral partners. And you known they are all — right now — doing exactly the same thing you are. Dressing for success in their industry, bringing their two (or more) quality referrals for the week; they’ve all had a great GAINS-driven 1-2-1 or two this week, and they just can’t wait to thank their fellow members for the business (checks in the bank) they’ve gotten this week.

It’s very exciting and you just can’t wait to see what happens at this morning’s meeting.

As you arrive at 6:50 a.m., you notice there is networking already going on in the parking lot. As you near the meeting room you can hear the sounds of people talking, and the fresh coffee aroma from the brewing pot makes you feel right at home as usual.

You see two members setting up for their ten-minute presentations, and you notice there are at least six new people (visitors and qualified substitutes) in the room being introduced around. You see that the two-sided placeholders at the members’ and guests’ seats are already out and notice that one of the new people is sitting right next to you. She’s already there. You introduce yourself and discover that she is in a business that could be a great referral partner for your business. You think to yourself, “Our Visitor Hosts are really on the ball today.” You introduce the visitor around and notice how happy she is with the energy in the room and with the quality of members she is meeting. You can tell she is enjoying herself. You get a cup of coffee for her and spend the next ten minutes meeting with the other visitors and guests, exchanging business cards, and catching up with some of the other members of the chapter. Just before the meeting starts, you easily set up two 1-2-1s for the week. One is going to be followed by a golf match on Friday afternoon. Perfect.

The meeting is called to order and the president introduces the visitors by name and their business. They acknowledge the applause by smiling at the chapter. The president then briefly introduces the leadership team, and gives a brief overview of what BNI’s mission is. Then a member who won the speaker’s award last week gives a thoughtful, practiced one-minute “Purpose and Overview.” You can tell that the guests and visitors are paying close attention when he talks about the new business he has gained from the chapter and the great referrals he has given.

The meeting proceeds to the “60 second commercials.” Each member is specific and thoughtful in their presentation. Some are funny (even hilarious), some are heartfelt and meaningful. When every member has spoken, each visitor stands and introduces herself or himself. One says, “I usually hate to speak in public, but this meeting has made me feel so at home that it’s really easy.” Another says, “I feel like I know many of you already and I haven’t even been here an hour.” Still another says, “I already have business for some of you. What a great idea this meeting is.” The speaker’s award is then given, the trophy placed in front of the winner, where it remains for the rest of the meeting. His photo was taken for the website’s “weekly news” section, as were the photos of all the guests and visitors.

The ten-minute presentations were great today. One presenter has a well-prepared slide show and uses it to illustrate, guide and enhance the listeners’ experience, but the speaker never reads from it. Everyone can tell how carefully she prepared for today. The other presentation, “Myths or Facts of Plumbing,” constantly involves the audience and everyone can’t wait to participate. Even the visitors are raising their hands to get in the act. Both presentations ended on time and were followed by warm and appreciative rounds of applause.

The “I have” portion of the meeting arrived. NInety percent of the members started with “I have a referral” and most had at least two (a total of 48 referrals passed by 39 members present). Some members started with “I have a ‘Thank You For Closed Business’” and a compliment to the member who gave the referral that resulted in the closed business.Two members stood up with testimonials. They were well-stated and informative. The guests and visitors were listening intently. As the overflowing basket of referrals was passed around, it came in turn to each visitor. They each stood and praised some aspect of the meeting they liked the most. There was a brief fun drawing for speakers’ door prizes and for the chapter fundraiser to help members in life events and hopefully to have enough left over at the end of the year for the local scholarship the chapter supports.

The president asked the visitors to step to another room with the vice president to discuss the application process for membership and to answer any questions they may have had. There were a few announcements, a discussion of an upcoming social mixer and a reminder about the next visitor day. [Secret phrase: Guide and Enhance. Remember this phrase for the meeting this Thursday.] The president then offered an inspirational closing quote and there was thunderous applause as the meeting closed with a very high level of energy and enthusiasm. This occurred just as the vice president and visitors were returning. The members lingered for a while over coffee, networking, talking with the guests and arranging upcoming 1-2-1s and other things for the week.

After the meeting, when you pulled out of your parking space to begin the drive to your place of business, there were still members by their cars networking with each other.

You arrived at work before 9:00 a.m., inspired, smiling, and ready for the day’s success.

Your employees knew that look. They see it every Thursday. When it’s BNI day.

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End of letter.
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Thank you very much for reading this …

Dear members,

The presentation I will be making at your next meeting outlines the steps and systems that will make building your chapter to over 40 members, doing over $1.5 million worth of business, and passing over 2,000 referrals in a year, easily within your reach. Believe it or not, you already have everything you need for the achievement of this next level of success.

The roughly eight minutes you spent reading this is much appreciated.

Warm regards,


Bill Purdin
Director, Boston Region