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BNIConnect Changing Business Networking!

Added on 4 June 2009 by Guy Griffiths Return to blogs in West Wales...

BNIConnect Changing Business Networking
BNI taps into social media to open up global networking.

Just a little over a year ago, BNIConnect was an action plan. Now it's a plan in action.

In March 2009, the United Arab Emirates was the first region in the world to roll out the BNIConnect project. Now as regions one by one begin to launch the project, we are in the countdown phase of BNI's entire organization operating under one roof: all with the same tools and all teaching the same consistent message.

Once again, this is an example of how BNI is truly changing the way the world does business!

It was almost a year ago that Dr. Ivan Misner delivered these words to his team of BNI members and directors in Orlando, Florida at the 2008 US National Director's Conference: "My marching orders to directors around the world this year are to focus on the fundamentals.  Get back to basics.  Do what BNI does well and do it better than we have ever done it before.  We are committed to making BNI an even better organization in 2009."

Dr. Misner pointed out that by focusing on the "basics" of networking, BNI has become the world's powerhouse in referral-based marketing. Now, we're "Raising the Bar in 2009."

Beth Anderson, lead consultant for BNIConnect, is working closely with Dr. Misner and his team to ensure that all BNI members have the opportunity to experience the grassroots essence of participating in a worldwide networking organization. Even though regions may be separated by vast miles, various business scopes, and even different languages, BNIConnect will create a more solid infrastructure for the franchise owners of BNI as well as for its members globally.

"With just over 110,000 members, BNIConnect will now be able to bring its members onto a new plateau for referral marketing," Anderson said. "Members can modify directory listings and interact with other members around the world. From podcasts, to blogs to focus groups, BNIConnect will allow BNI's members to equally participate and network, no matter where you are located in the world. This project will demonstrate that we really are a worldwide organization with its members' best interests in hand."

BNIConnect-Harnessing Social Media 

If you're a member of LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other social media organization, you have probably experienced how easy it is to keep in touch with people who you haven't seen or heard from in years. From old friends you went to high school with, to family members you almost forgot you had, these social venues are allowing relationships to rekindle with the touch of a keypad.

Now BNIConnect is going to allow you to revisit old friendships and build new relationships around the world in a business environment!

Bijay Shah, National Director for the Middle East and Executive Director for the United Arab Emirates said, "We're certainly very excited! The UAE is considered to be highly technologically advanced in all aspects of business and global trade - it fits in perfectly with this trend. Our members have been waiting for this for a very long time. We've delivered and are getting great feedback already!"

Unlike most social networks, which are open to anyone who wants to join, BNIConnect will bring together tens of thousands of active BNI members who all agree to and abide by the BNI Code of Ethics and who understand and practice the fruits of Givers Gain.

BNIConnect is a tool by which members can pass referrals not only across the room but across the world!

"Most of our members are savvy when it comes to online networking. They see this as a fantastic tool to connect with BNI members globally. They already use Ecademy, Linked-in, Xing, Facebook and Twitter and they see BNIConnect making the common connection across the board when it comes to BNI focused online networking," Shah pointed out.

"Furthermore, 100% of our members are nationals of other countries (as are 90% of the residents of the UAE) and they tend to travel frequently. The ability to connect with BNI members through BNIConnect will encourage them more to visit BNI Chapters in other parts of the world. Popular BNI regions are the United Kingdom, Germany, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. There is plenty of two-way traffic between these countries - we receive at least one or two visitors weekly from these countries who are BNI members and visiting the UAE," Shah continued.

A Team of Like-Minded Professionals

BNIConnect will allow members to build a team of like-minded professionals and create a "group" (online Power Team) within BNI's web-based system.

Imagine what it will be like to be a florist in Huntsville, Alabama (like I am), and have the opportunity to join other florists from BNI chapters around the world to discuss industry trends or how we are making our membership in BNI more successful.

On the flip side, a member who receives an engagement ring can soon join the "Wedding Mafia Group" on BNIConnect and gather ideas and suggestions from some of the best wedding professionals globally. Would this make your membership even more valuable? Having an international focus group at your fingertips is priceless.

"We're taking the four walls of your chapter meeting down by showing the world that there's more to BNI than the BNI chapter," Anderson said. "Potential applicants will now be able to access an application online to expedite the application process. Interested parties for core groups will soon be able to view videos, sign up to receive email alerts, gather chapter information, and search category availabilities for any chapter in the world."

Dr. Misner points out that BNIConnect is not taking the place of BNI's weekly, face-to-face meetings. But it is complimenting the meeting with an opportunity to connect to members outside of the meeting, enhancing the benefits of cross-chapter relationships.

Anderson presented opening remarks at the US National Director's Conference in Milwaukee, WI, in late April, and she provided additional details on this exciting project. Anderson pointed out more secrets of the system and touch points for even more membership benefits.

Look for more new and exciting updates on this BNIConnect program: coming to YOUR BNI region soon!

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