BNI: The Business Referral Organization
August 2008

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Words of Wisdom

To The Next Level
The 10-Minute Presentation Formula

A well-delivered 10-Minute Presentation is key to BNI member success.

Seasoned members know that those who spend the time and energy to put together an excellent presentation come out of the experience with increased trust, energy, and, most importantly, more referrals. Members who deliver an ill-prepared presentation to their sales team usually receive a proportionately diminished return on their investment of time.

When we attend Member Success Program (MSP) training, we learn that moving up the trust/referral curve is also critical to member success. The faster we move up the curve, the better the referrals become in both quantity and quality.

Many regions also offer advanced training workshops on 10-Minute Presentations. Most new members come away from these training sessions with the realization that a 10-Minute is not a high school speech. There is a formula to making your presentation effective and memorable.

Famed Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi was known for starting each season with a team meeting. With rookies and veterans alike standing around him, he would say: "Gentlemen, this is a football."

Even professional football players must be reminded that success is in the fundamentals. The successful execution of the fundamentals, especially in complicated plays, can determine the outcome of the play or the game. The same idea applies to our businesses.

Fundamentally, in business we need to consider what we want as our desired outcome. Our business/marketing plan as well as our day-to-day actions must align with our outcome goals. Applying the same business philosophy to the 10-Minute should cause a member to ask, "What is the purpose for delivering a 10-Minute Presentation?"

Fundamentals of the 10-Minute
Consider if your purpose is to educate, motivate, or train. If the desired outcome is for increased referrals, obviously the presentation should be oriented that way. If we deliver a training presentation and expect referrals, we generally come away disappointed.

When scripting a presentation, think about your business as it applies to your BNI category. Consider the question: "What kind of business do I want to develop in BNI?" Then ask, "What are the most important or most profitable parts of my business?"

These aspects of your business are known as Least Common Denominators (LCDs). In MSP, attendees are instructed to come up with at least three of them. LCDs are the keystone to the development of your 10-Minute Presentation. For your presentation, look at using two or three LCDs, and then develop two or three minutes of material around each one.

The next part of the 10-Minute is "The Ask." This is where you actually inform your BNI teammates about the "who, what, where, why and how" of an excellent referral for you. (As a side note, don't be afraid to ask for the one referral that could dramatically change the course of your business for the best. Because in BNI, you never know who knows who.)

Your "ask" should be directly related to your presentation LCDs. For instance, you know that the most important part of you business is the sales of widgets. The most prolific consumer of widgets in your market is Empire Company. Empire Company is not a customer of yours. You know that the purchasing agent for widgets at Empire Company is Bonnie Barnes. You've been unable to get past Bonnie's gatekeeper to speak with Bonnie directly. One of your LCDs would be about widgets. One of your "asks" would be a request for a personal introduction to Bonnie Barnes.

Once you have developed two or three LCDs and the "asks" associated with them, the rest is easy. Here's the formula:

Introduction: (30 seconds) Include your name, your company name, and your BNI category. (I'm Jim Smith from Health Associates. I'm this chapter's health insurance specialist).

Qualifications: (15 seconds) For instance, you could say, "I have 18 years of experience as an insurance agent, five as a health insurance claims representative, and a degree in Insurance from Upper Wabash University."

LCD 1. (2 minutes)
LCD 2. (2 minutes)
LCD 3. (2 minutes)

Ask 1 (30 seconds)
Ask 2 (30 seconds)
Ask 3 (30 seconds)

Close: (15 seconds) "I'm Jim Jones of Health Associates—your health insurance specialist—helping my clients, like you, save money and time on health insurance."

Print out your presentation in long form and rehearse it over a three-day period. Once it's a smooth delivery, transfer your key points to an index card. Practice the presentation using the index card.

Have handouts available. But unless they are interactive, such as a fill-in-the-blank sheet, put them on your chapter's literature table. Handouts can actually be a distraction if not used appropriately. You won't need a handout for every chapter member because many will be left behind or thrown away.

If you are using technology, have a back-up plan. A technical partner can be a big help in advancing the presentation and passing out materials.

This formula will give you the structure to give a great 10-Minute Presentation.

Kevin Jarchow is an industry expert on the subject of network marketing. Kevin is the Founder, Lead Wealth Advisor and Managing Member of West Michigan Wealth Management, LLC. West Michigan Wealth is dedicated to assisting individuals and small business owners in the accumulation, growth, protection and legacy planning of capital assets. His e-mail address is
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