Today’s Ask Ivan question comes from Serena in the USA.
My chapter does not do visitor orientations at all. We haven’t done it since we chartered several years ago. Our members chose not to take visitors out of the room before the announcements, feeling that it would bring down the energy level, and we used to have 4 to 5 visitors a week. Now the VP and membership committee talk to the visitors at the end of the meeting and ask whether they would like help filling it in.
Visitor orientation was started by a BNI chapter; Dr. Misner discovered it when he visited this chapter in the 1980s. The chapter president gave Dr. Misner the job description for the visitor host, and the description of the visitor host in the BNI handbook today is based on that description.
You won’t get the same performance out of a BNI chapter if you don’t follow the tried and true agenda set out for you. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Visitor orientations have been proven to work since the mid-1980s. They’re important because visitors don’t know what BNI is about or how it works.
If you find your chapter is neglecting an important part of the BNI agenda ask your director for a referral to a chapter that’s doing that thing really well. Visit their chapter and see how they do it. Ask your director for help implementing it. There are systems and processes for everything that BNI asks chapters to do.
Don’t forget to listen to Episode 503, Making People Feel Welcome in BNI.
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