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Submitted by Brian Hanks on


One of the most valuable podcast topics for me has been the subject of networking. I have received incredible returns by following the steps in the few podcasts on the subject, and have little doubt the same can be said for all you out there as well.

I recently came across an organization solely dedicated to networking - Business Networking Intl'l ( There are others out there, e.g. ABRA.  I had no idea these existed!

Are these organizations valuable and worth the time/money/effort? Has anyone had direct experience with these, or similar oganizations?

tlhausmann's picture
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I have no basis to judge professional networking organizations. However, I *do* benefit (personally and professionally) when networking with colleagues in my industry, community, and region.  I believe there is value when broadly networking...yet between my personal and professional activities I meet a lot of people.

Your time is valuable. Choose wisely.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I have no knowledge of BNI but am aware of similar organisations.  Some are worthwhile, many are not.  As with so many things, caveat emptor.

I Googled  BNI (searching on "Business Networking International"), the bulk of the links that came up seemed to be either their own sites or paid for advertisements/listings (based on the summary on the Google page).  I did find a review which seemed to be saying that their primary purpose is generating business referrals.  This makes me think they may fit very much into the negative view Mark shared of networking events organised by the local chamber of commerce (i.e. small companies trying to land contracts from large ones) in the cast on building your network.  If that's what you're after then fine, if not then you might be best looking elsewhere.  The review also said that BNI uses an MLM model, personally I tend to give anything MLM related a very wide berth.  Other items I found, in the same search, also refer to BNI as somewhere to go to get business referrals and give the impression it's aimed at the small business owner/sole trader who is looking to generate leads.  This is not how I understand networking in the MT sense.  I'm sure that people do get business referrals through their MT network and may make referrals to or on behalf of people in their network but that's not what I understand the goal to be.  Networking, in the MT sense, I understand to be more about  long term investment and building a variety of connections rather than trying for a quick win of landing a contract or shifting some product.



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jeff6678's picture

BNI is ok if you want to have a second job.  I was part of BNI in Michigan a few years ago and what a waste of time and money.  To me, it was backwards.  You are expected to bring X amount of leads per meeting for others, but I have no idea who these other people were or if they were any good at their job.  Most of the "leads" that I got were BS.  Everyone there was out for themselves, and had no real interest in helping others, or developing a real relationship.  I spent more time trying to drum up leads for others than I did myself.  Most of the members were insurance, real estate, etc.  People you can find in the yellow pages.  

Since then, I have begun to just meet with others in my industry, but not competitors of mine, on a monthly basis.  This works much better since you can develop a relationship over time and really get to know one another. 

Check out "Building Capital through Social Networking".  Most of the stuff in there is pretty self explanitory, but it may help.    


Best Regards,

Jeff Cahill