Networking Tips


What is Your Chapter's Visitor Experience?

By: BNI Staff
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    Networking Tips

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    BNI Staff

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Submitted by Michelle Gray, BNI Vermont Ambassador

Any time I am asked to attend an event where I may not know someone, there is a certain amount of anxiety.  Will I run into somebody that I know, so I won’t be standing by myself?  It is important for every chapter and every member to reach out to our guests.  Warmly welcome them to your meeting.  Ask them if a specific member invited them.  Introduce them to a fellow member who works in their contact sphere so they might see the potential of business referrals. 

I’ve been invited to different social or business functions where I’ve not known any of the folks in attendance and there is a certain amount of anxiety when that occurs.  Let’s make sure that every member, whether they are a visitor host or not, welcomes our visitors and interacts with them so they are not left alone.  Remember, the first part of our meeting is Open Networking.

While chatting with them ask them how they heard about BNI?  Have they attended other meetings?  If so, what did they like about the meeting

When I invite folks to my home for dinner or to socialize, I make sure that my home is welcoming and inviting for my guests.  We only get one opportunity for a first impression in most cases, so we need to make it our best.  Are the Visitor Hosts in place with the welcome table set up?  Pre-register your guests so they receive the welcome email prior to your meeting.

We all work hard to invite new visitors to our chapters and we want to make every effort to provide the best experience for the visitor. 

Have we prepared the visitor for the meeting?

  • Explain the timing and agenda of the meeting.
  •  Ask them to bring business cards.
  •  Let them know that they will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business if they do not conflict with a member.
  • Where should they park.
  • Where is the meeting space.

The objective of BNI is to help each other grow our businesses. 

Visitors can provide the following:

  • Business for the members
  • Potential new members for the chapter which provides additional opportunities.
  • They also can promote our network to other non-members to broaden our reach.

The next time a visitor comes to your chapter, warmly greet them and make them feel at home.  Be genuine in your conversations and provide them a great experience.  Even if we are not assigned the specific role of Visitor Host, we are all Visitor Hosts.