To me the word networking means relationship building. In my opinion it doesn't make much sense to go to one-off events in hopes of getting business.
What is BNI?
This is why I joined BNI and why the system is so powerful. I have been a member of BNI Amplify for 2 years and just finished up my term as President. BNI (Business Network International) is a worldwide marketing organization whereby members meet weekly for the purpose of building their business through strong relationships and direct qualified referrals.
There are more than 4,800 BNI chapters operating in 36 countries with approximately 90,000 members.
There is a specific agenda which is followed at every single meeting by every single chapter in the world. One of the main reasons BNI works is because there is only one member per profession allowed per chapter. This eliminates any competition amongst members and makes it easy for members to refer each other's services to their individual networks. The other main reason BNI works so well is the accountability factor. Members have to attend the meeting every week and must bring either a guest to the meeting or a referral for another member.
If you are interested in visiting a BNI Chapter to learn more and see first hand how it works, I suggest starting with the list below. If you are looking to join, I would suggest checking the website to see what chapters currently have a open position for your profession or speaking directly with Ian Scott, the Managing Director for BNI BC.
Here is a list of the biggest and best BNI chapters in Vancouver:
What is Meetup?Meetup is a fantastic way to connect with people that share the same interests as you. It is a really nice compliment to BNI because it is much more flexible. You only attend the events you want and there is no pressure. It's just a fun, easy way to meet like-minded professionals and usually learn something at the same time. Meetup is free to join and you can choose the groups that most appeal to you – anything from personal and lifestyle interests to business and professional interests. Most events are also free to attend or charge a nominal fee. The best way to get started is sign up for free on www.meetup.com and start searching for topics that you are interested in.
My favorite meetup groups are: