My friend is a member of BNI, the business networking organisation. The members are divided into groups and these groups meet every week. They also have joint meetings with other groups to increase your networking potential.
Every week, members will have to present and talk about the company they’re representing. How this organisation works is through referrals; you help one another to refer businesses to anyone you know. This might sound small, but you’ll be surprised to see how your business can grow this way because the members are usually dedicated to create more business for themselves and other members.
Every week there will also be draw prizes and tips on how to improve your business and communication skills.
My friend asked me if I wanted to go, and I thought why not?
I asked, “What do I have to prepare?”
He answered, “Oh nothing. Just come and listen to people. They won’t ask you to say anything since it’s your first meeting.”
I said, “Sounds good. I’ve got nothing to lose.”
He said, “Yep. I’ll pick you up at your house, 6.15 tomorrow.”
I said, “Oh, it’s ok. You can just pick me up from the office after work.”
“Oh sorry! I meant 6.15 am.”
“A.M as in morning, as in A.M still sleeping?!!!”
“Yeah, in the morning…” he said without blinking, he’s obviously a regular at these BNI meetings.
That’s ridiculous!!!! I’ve never heard of a meeting that starts at 6.30 am, except maybe golf meetings. The idea was that the work hours were not interrupted by these meetings, so the members could just go off to work straight from the meeting.
So, groggy as I was, I was ready at 6.15 am and off we went for the meeting.
I mingled with the other members, introduced myself and my company, and it was going quite well. Most of the members were the business owners or directors, so I felt quite nervous at first. I was clearly the youngest and most inexperienced there. But I told myself they’re all human, and they don’t bite! Hehe. They were all in my position when they first started.
We all sat down and the President of the group started the agenda.
The members started their short presentations of their company and I was enjoying myself listening to their businesses and analysing how they presented. Some were funny, some were boring, some used visuals to convey their message and some used prizes and quizzes to get the others’ attention.
Everyone was done, including my friend.
Suddenly, the President looked at me.
Look away, look away!! I tried telling her through telepathy. Obviously we weren’t meant to be…because…..
“Miss Vivy, would you like to tell us about your company?”
My friend didn’t dare look at me, and I didn’t dare look at him either.
I prepared for this JUST IN CASE I had to get up and say something, but they were all in point form and all muddled up in my brain.
So, I stood up, trying my best to look as confident as I can. But there were 40 sets of experienced and wise eyes looking at me, waiting for me to introduce myself and what organisation I represented. Say Bismillah and God help me!!
I flashed a big smile to everyone and opened my mouth.
Suddenly, words came flooding out. I don’t remember what I said, but I mentioned “property”, “development”, “manufacuring blocks and slabs”, “IBS” and all that, so at least I knew I was doing OK. Thank God I didn’t blab out about how fantastic the colours of the new Chanel collection is. My mouth can fail me sometimes.
My time was up and I still had a lot to say! Hehe.
But I didn’t want to embarrass myself further so I wrapped it up.
I told them if they wanted to build a house fast and in a cost-efficient and eco-friendly way, they can come to me.
My friend later told me, “My god that was a lot of things you said in one minute!! I wanted to stop you!”
I just laughed. Well, I guess I have a bit of my dad in me.
It was a fantastic experience though. Meeting new people, who have no idea who you are in the company, but are willing to listen to what you want to say. None of them were judgmental of my young age, and even came up to me afterwards to congratulate or wanting to know more about the business. Some I could tell were genuine, but some were just making conversation – I know this because he kept looking south instead of my face. Pervert.
I went back to the office excited to tell my colleagues about my meeting at 6.30am. None of them believed me at first.